The high school boys basketball playoffs have arrived and it brings some marquee matchups across the Rio Grande Valley in the opening round.
In Class 6A, two of the deepest districts across the RGV are set to collide as 31-6A battles 32-6A with four spots in the second round up for grabs.
La Joya High made program history by winning its first district title in 16 years at 21-3 overall and 13-2 in district play. The District 31-6A champion Coyotes are set to host a first-round playoff game and hope to keep the regular-season momentum rolling into the postseason. La Joya High will host Harlingen South, the No. 4 seed from 32-6A, at 7 p.m. Friday in La Joya.
District 32-6A champion Weslaco High (20-4, 13-1) will face Edinburg Economedes (16-6, 10-4) in a matchup between one of the RGV’s top players in Edinburg Economedes forward Ray De Leon and arguably the RGV’s best backcourt in Weslaco High’s trio of Andrew Olmeda, Leonard Smith and Juan Galindo. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Economedes High School.
Rounding out Class 6A RGV playoff action is Los Fresnos taking on PSJA North, and Edinburg North facing Harlingen High.
The Cardinals ended their regular season with a bang as Michael Castillo hit a 3-pointer to beat the fourth-quarter buzzer and defeat rival Harlingen South 52-51 last Friday. The Cougars (15-8, 10-5) will travel to Harlingen for a 7 p.m. tip Friday.
When the Falcons and Raiders take the court, so will two of the area’s top scorers in Los Fresnos’ sophomore guard Gerry Martinez (20.9 points per game) and PSJA North senior Elijah De La Garza (26.2 ppg). Los Fresnos (22-4, 11-3) and PSJA North (13-8, 11-5) will collide at 7 p.m. Friday at PSJA North.
All three McAllen ISD high schools punched their ticket to the postseason, with the McAllen High Bulldogs and McAllen Rowe Warriors splitting the District 31-5A title with 12-2 records.
It’s McHi’s first district title since the 2014-15 season, while the Rowe Warriors collected their fifth consecutive district championship trophy.
Rowe drew a first round road playoff game against Brownsville Veterans at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, while the Bulldogs will take on Weslaco East at 7 p.m. Saturday on the Wildcats’ home court.
Sharyland Pioneer finished one game out of a three-way tie for first-place in 31-5A and will face Donna High (12-7, 10-3) in bi-district. Pioneer guard Miguel Angel Gonzalez leads the Diamondbacks against Donna High, led by Eddy Epperson.
The Brownsville Pace Vikings (16-6, 13-0) completed their run through 32-5A as the unbeaten district champions, but will travel for their first round playoff game against McAllen Memorial with tip set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Memorial High School.
The Port Isabel Tarpons ended a 31-year drought by winning the District 32-4A title this season with a 9-1 record. The Tarpons dethroned defending district champion Hidalgo with a 47-42 win over the Pirates on Feb. 11.
Hidalgo (8-7, 7-3) is the No. 2 seed in 32-4A and will face Zapata in the first round, with Raymondville and La Feria finishing as the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, respectively.
The Monte Alto Blue Devils (15-4, 14-4) are back in the playoffs for the first time in five years and are looking to make some noise as the No. 2 seed in District 31-3A. The Blue Devils, led by post Benny Sarrion, will meet Brownsville IDEA Frontier at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Donna IDEA.
Pharr Vanguard Academy (17-6, 13-5) is making its first playoff appearance in program history as the Spartans are set to take on Brownsville Jubilee at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
North Mission IDEA, which is in its first season competing at the UIL level, have been rewarded with a home playoff game after winning the 31-3A title with an 18-0 district record. The Warriors will welcome Brownsville IDEA Riverview at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at North Mission IDEA.
CLASS 1A & 2A
There are two RGV representatives in the Class 2A playoffs led by Santa Maria, the 32-2A district champions, and the La Villa Cardinals.
At the 1A level, San Perlita won a 78-73 thriller over McMullen County on Saturday to earn the top seed in District 32-1A. The two split their season series, but the Trojans fought back from an 11-point deficit in the rubber match to claim the No. 1 spot and a first-round bye in this year’s playoffs.
Meanwhile, San Isidro is set to take on D’Hanis in a bi-district matchup at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Cotulla High School.