By: Anthony Kennedy
The Eastwood Troopers came into the 6th annual McDonald’s Classic with a 1-2 record. Losing two very close one-point games to both Andress and Cathedral, but also sporting a win against Canutillo. The Troopers were determined to do well in the tournament hosted in their own gym.
The Troopers opened up the tournament against the Odessa Permian Panthers, who reached the area playoffs last year, and showed no sign of anything less. The game took place in the Bob Lesley gymnasium in front of a packed Eastwood fan base. However, the Troopers faltered and lost 61-43 to a very talented Permian Panther team. Leading the Troopers with 6 points, 2 blocks, and a steal was Nick Barrio who believed that the team needs to, “Play with more intensity and limit the number of silly mistakes.”
The game started off as a back and forth battle of trading baskets. The first quarter ended with a score of 13-11 giving the Panthers the slight edge. The Troopers quickly tied the game 20 seconds into the second quarter when Nick Barrio blocked a shot and sparked a fast break assist to Kevin Guereque who finished with a lay up. The see-saw battle continued as Permian answered right back with a basket at the other end. The Troopers finally had their first lead of the first half after Junior Point Guard, Carlos Guillen, hit a Go Ahead Three Pointer with 2:06 left to go in the half. The Troopers capped the first half with a lead of 28-25 after Edward Barrio’s lay up off the top of the glass. Edward Barrio led the team with 6 points in the first half. However the second half was a complete different story. The Panthers came out with a new intensity, which out matched the Troopers’. The Odessa team went on a 9-0 run in a two-minute span on the Troopers, until Luis Gonzalez hit a two point jump shot at the opposite end of the court. The scoring rampage by the Panthers led to a switch of score leaders on the scoreboard after the third quarter. The Panthers were now up 46-39 over the already thin Troopers. The fourth quarter sealed the victory for Permian as they held Eastwood to scoring only four points the entire quarter while putting up 15 points of their own. The leading scorer for the Troopers was Chris Nobles who finished with 13 points.
(CAPTION Junior Center Nick Barrio during a game Thursday against Odessa Permian)
Nick Barrio has high hopes for the Troopers as he states that he still, “expects to make the championship despite the loss.” The Troopers’ next game is the following day against the South Mountain Jaguars from Phoenix, Arizona. This game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. during 5th period on Friday.