FRIENDSWOOD – If the Mustangs boys basketball team is to advance to the 4A regional tournament in Katy this weekend, players will have to find a way to do a few things.
“We have to finish plays and get rebounds as well,” Friendswood coach Jeff Keener said in advance of today’s playoff matchup against Angleton (20-11, 2-0). “(Angleton is) talented. They are big, athletic and shoot a lot of threes. You can’t concentrate and overload on one person.”
The Mustangs will also have to find a way to get around the Wildcats’ 6-foot-9-inch center Josh Ibarra, who in the win against Stratford last week had 15 points and 18 rebounds. In the bi-district overtime win over Ball High on Feb. 18, Ibarra ended the game with 16 blocked or changed shots.
“He doesn’t get off the ground either, which means he stays out of foul trouble,” Keener said. “We have to find a way to go around him and get him away from the rim a bit.”
That’s why it will be key for the Mustangs to knock down some 3-pointers of their own.
“We are not the type of team that goes out and creates turnovers,” Keener said. “When we blow people out is when we shoot the ball extremely well.”
A playoff matchup between these two teams isn’t new. The Wildcats and Mustangs squared off in the first round of the postseason a year ago.
Friendswood walked off the court with a 67-61 win.
This year, the Mustangs opened the playoffs with a 1-point squeaker over defending state champion Rosenberg Terry before a five-point win over Ridge Point.
“Our playoff wins aren’t surprising that they are close,” Keener said. “I thought we played a lot better Friday night. We kind of dished it out a bit.”
For today, Keener is looking for 6-foot-5-inch senior forward Kelby Schimming to play big.
“Kelby has to have a big game,” he said. “He has to spin to the basket, rebound and finish opportunities over that big guy (Ibarra). Kelby needs to have a big game, especially on defensive rebounding.”
Keener is also looking to senior guard Chris Collins to rebound from a tough game on Friday.
“Chris struggled Friday night and we still got the win,” he said. “If he can get going, that would be huge.”
If he does, then the Mustangs can look forward to a trip to the Merrell Center that — with two more wins — could punch a ticket to Austin.
At a glance
WHAT: Friendswood vs. Angleton
WHEN: 7 p.m. today
WHERE: Hopson Fieldhouse, 3335 Hurricane Lane in Missouri City.
Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.