2016 Shows El Paso Is A Phenomenal Basketball City
With the UTEP Women’s basketball team finally getting the credit they deserve from the polls (#25 in Coaches Poll), there are plenty of fans in El Paso who are excited about a potential NCAA Tourney run because of their current 25-2 record. Keitha Adams' Miners are on a "Payback Tour," and defended the Don with emphasis by not allowing anybody to beat them on their home court this year, which is a first. They look to close the regular season with a bang against Conference USA and state rival UTSA in San Antonio. They are regular season Conference USA Champs and have the number one seed going into the conference tourney in Birmingham, Ala., during Spring Break.
Heading to the Northeast side of town, you’ll find Andress High School where the Golden Eagles Boys Basketball team is back in the Sweet 16 of the 1-5A Playoffs despite a 16-14 record. The Golden Eagles soared into the Final Four last year before being ousted by eventual state champs Lancaster. Andress defeated Plainview 73-64 on March 1 to go up against Rider of Wichita Falls, Texas, on Friday, March 4 at Western Texas College. Head Coach Jim Forbes’ Andress Eagles are currently riding (no pun intended) a win streak of five games.
Heading over to another part of town is where you’ll find the Burgess Mustangs who are at the helm of Head Coach Paul Gutierrez and ranked as the 18th-best team in the state with a stellar record of 28-2. The Mustangs faced a 6-point deficit after three quarters of play but pulled off a thrilling comeback against Hereford with the final score 49-46 on March 1. Burgess is set to play their Sweet 16 match against Fort Worth Dunbar on Friday, March 4 at Western Texas College following the Andress/Rider matchup. If both Burgess and Andress notch a W against their current respected opponents, they would face each other in the Elite 8 on March 5 at Western Texas College.
Last but certainly not least, let us shed some light on the Anthony Wildcats. They have an astonishing record of 23-0 and recently advanced to the Sweet 16 in the Class 2A Tournament representing Region 1-2A after defeating Smyer (26-7) in a 54-35 victory. The Wildcats of Anthony seem to be playing with a chip on their shoulder despite having an unblemished record and part of that could be their #224 spot on the state rankings by MaxPreps. Undefeated and underrated could be the way to describe this squad led by Coach Lali Maldonado. Anthony is set to take on Stratford at South Plains on Friday, March 4.
I'm not sure which is more exciting; the high level of basketball play in El Paso or being from El Paso seeing teams from the city and area succeed. Either way, this is definitely a great time for basketball teams and fans in El Paso.