Jaguar loss motivates team for next season
The Texas A&M University-San Antonio men’s basketball team closed the season with a tough overtime loss March 20 at Northwest Vista College, losing to the Wildcats 74-72.
But the team continued to compete at a non-playoff tournament over the weekend to develop their skills.
The Jaguars, who are part of the Texas Collegiate Club Sports League, finished the 2018-2019 season overall at 2-12
“We struggled all season, but we came to play as a team today and showed everyone that we wanted it,” point guard Thomas “TJ” Navarro said after the game.
The first half began slowly, with the teams tied in the opening minutes at 12-12. Parson controlled the offense by setting up his teammates for quick points in the paint to spark a 9-0 run.
The team had great chemistry all around, sharing the ball for assists and driving down the lane to draw easy fouls. Power forward Deron Taylor and shooting guard Rosco Parson had a combined total of 15 points in the first half, Taylor with 8 points and Parson with 7.
Parson scored a team-high 20 points that night.
The Jaguars stood strong on the defensive side, not allowing the Wildcats easy baskets. The Wildcats struggled to keep up and could only close the spread to 7.
The Jaguars led 35-28 at the end of the first half.
“Our energy level is very high right now,” Coach Anthony Childs said, going into the second half. “We are taking care of the ball and making shots. Our defense is the best it’s ever been the whole season.”
Opening the second half, the Wildcats came in blazing, chipping away at the Jaguars’ lead until Northwest Vista was behind by 3 points. But the Jaguars kept the fight going by staying consistent with ball movement and well-established defense. With nine minutes left in the second half, the Wildcats adjusted their offense by being aggressive in the paint and hitting more of their jumpers to take the lead 51-48.
The Wildcats made a great effort to extend their lead, but the Jaguars kept the consistency on offense to score much-needed points. The score was 55-55 with under five minutes left.
“Our energy effort is all about heart for these last five minutes,” Childs said.
The teams went back and forth until the last minute of the game when the Wildcats made a field goal and drew a foul for an and-one play making the free throw to go up by 3. No. 5 from the Wildcats committed an over-the-back foul with 29 seconds left. This gave an extra possession to the Jaguars to set up Navarro, who drained a 3-pointer that tied the game 65-65 and sent it to overtime.
Starting the overtime period, the intensity was high between the teams. But the Jaguars fell short on both sides of the ball, giving up fouls to put the Wildcats in a 4-point lead, 74-70.
Nation got rebounds and cleanup points around the rim to chip the lead to two. The score was 74-72.
The Jaguars had one last possession, but Navarro missed the 3-pointer. Nation got the rebound but did not have enough time to call a timeout to draw up one last play for a chance to win the game.
Execution on both sides of the ball carried the Wildcats to a win over the Jaguars 74-72.
The league starts playoffs this week, but the Jaguars will not be competing.
However, they participated in the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Regional Basketball Championships March 22-24 in College Station. The tournament gives college recreational sports participants an opportunity to compete with skilled peers from other schools and take the competition to a higher level.
The March 20 loss to the Wildcats actually prepared the Jaguars for that tournament, small forward John Nation said after the Northwest Vista game.
“This is the best game we played so far — we played for one another and stuck it out to the end,” Nation said. “We took a tough loss, but this motivates us for the upcoming tournament this weekend.”
The Jaguars faced Texas Southern University and the University of Houston at the NIRSA tournament. Their closest game was against the University of Houston, which A&M-San Antonio lost 67-64, according to Kaulin Andric, intramural sports graduate assistant for Recreational Sports at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Jaguars team captain Vishal Bhakta said fouls and injuries contributed to their loss at NIRSA.
“But the game against NVC and this weekend will help us for the upcoming season,” he said in a phone interview March 25.
The Jaguars will start the 2019-2020 regular season in October, Bhakta said.