The Orange Leader
WEST ORANGE —
It would be hard to argue that many teams around Southeast Texas is playing better basketball than Coach Jason Wilkins’ West Orange-Stark Mustangs heading into the playoffs.
The Mustangs (21-10), the runnerups out of District 21-3A, will put that to the test tonight when they take on the Huffman Falcons (21-10), the 22-3A third-place team, tonight at 7 p.m. at Kountze High School in the Class 3A Region III bidistrict round.
The Mustangs certainly have some momentum built up, winning 15 of their last 17 games. Their last win came last Tuesday on the road where they defeated 21-3A champion Silsbee 72-69.
“The kids are really playing good basketball right now and it’s the time of year you love to see that,” said Wilkins. “We’re really clicking on all cylinders and everyone has been contributing in a big way.”
The Mustangs are definitely led by the 1-2 junior punch of Laquarious Paige and Brandon Joubert. Paige has that style of play that all hoop fans love to see. He has uncanny leaping ability. He has a nice scoring touch but he’s also special as far as setting up his teammates with assists and he also hits the boards well.
Joubert has been a steady anchor at the point. He plays excellent defense and has been almost automatic in the clutch at the free-throw line.
However, those two get plenty of help with the Mustangs being one of the deepest teams in the area.
Center Tyrant Thompson has developed a nice post game as a junior. Travon Blanchard has been a nice “slasher” to the basket and hits the boards well. Tevin Terrell has proved his might as well in the paint. Corey Carcisse plays excellent defense and can bust the treys.
The Mustangs also have two excellent scorers coming off the bench in the forms of Chase Rutledge and Tre Spencer.
“That’s what I like so much about this team, they all fit in well in the schemes of things,” said Wilkins. “It can be any of them that steps up on any giving night. They’re so unselfish and they all get along and play so well together.”
The Falcons will be a stern opponent for the Mustangs and have the exact same overall record.
The Falcons tied Coldspring and Splendora for second-place in 22-3A and had to battle their way in to make the playoffs.
Huffman secured a berth last Thursday when they nipped Splendora 47-46. They fell to Coldspring 81-63 in a battle for second last Friday.
Wilkins went and scouted Huffman last week and came away impressed.
“They are a very well-coached team and are fundamentally pretty sound,” said Wilkins. “They have a couple good scorers.”
Wilkins feels that if the Mustangs just play at their level, they’re capable of moving on.
“If we continue to go out there and execute things like I know we can and have every kid impact the game in a positive way, we can move on,” said Wilkins. “We’ve just got to go out there and play Mustang basketball.”
The WO-S-Huffman winner will take on 24-3A champion LaMarque in the area round Friday.
In other playoff action tonight, Hardin-Jefferson will face Coldspring at 8 p.m. at Dayton High School.
In Class 4A, Beaumont Central faces Kingwood Park at 7:30 p.m. at Lee College in Baytown. Beaumont Ozen will meet Humble Summer Creek at 6 p.m. at East Chambers High School. Port Neches-Groves will battle Crosby at 7 p.m. at Baytown’s Goose Creek Memorial High School and Nederland will tangle with Humble at 7:30 p.m. at East Chambers High School.