Warriors roll past Bearkats in opener at Vail

LA FERIA — Senior Mike Bermea hit his first shot from three-point range and put the first points on the board for Santa Rosa.

The 3-ball was foreshadowing what was to come for Bermea and the Warriors.

Bermea led the offense with 17 first-quarter points and finished with a game-high 25 as the Warriors ran past the Raymondville Bearkats 109-43 to open up their play at the C.E. Vail Tournament on Thursday.

“I feel we came out strong, and that is what we need to do,” Bermea said. “We need to come out strong so we can get what we want.”

The Warriors will meet Corpus Christi West Oso at 10:30 a.m. today in Gym A.

Along with the offense came aggressive play from the Warriors on defense. It was something Warriors coach Johnny Cipriano was looking to improve on.

“That was one thing I asked the kids to do,” Cipriano said. “I think we are pretty soft sometimes, so I asked them to pick up the intensity and show me that they don’t want the other team to score, because sometimes we are passive. If we shore that up and fix it, the defensive intensity, and keep shooting the way we are shooting, we will be fine.”

Bermea’s 25 points was his second-highest total this season. During their previous tournament, Bermea netted a season-high 27 points against Corpus Christi Moody.

“It usually takes me a little while to get hot,” Bermea said. “Then I will start hitting my 3s, and today I was just hitting them and I was feeling good.

Bermea was one of five Warriors to score in double figures. Chris Vela scored 16 points, Ruben Ochoa had 10, David Balzaldua contributed 15 while Adam Cavazos added 14 points.

Santa Rosa outran and outshot the Bearkats, taking a commanding 28-9 lead after the first quarter. During the third quarter, the Warriors didn’t let up and outscored Raymondville 32-5. The Warriors scored 100 points for the second straight game and matched their season high with 109 points.

“We shot pretty well today, and we shot well at the Corpus tournament, too,” Cipriano said. “Hopefully our shooting is coming around, but I really like how we are moving the ball around and looking for the best shot rather than just settling for a shot.”

Rio Hondo went 1-1 during the first day of tournament action. The Bobcats lost their tournament opener to La Joya High 53-37. In the loss, Jabez Villareal led the Rio Hondo offense with 17 points, and John Ayala added 10 points.

For La Joya High, Bernie Vera scored 13 points and Santiago Rodriguez finished with 11 points.

Rio Hondo rebounded with a 65-53 win over Kingsville King. Villarreal led the charge again with a team-high 19 points, and Zachariah Rios followed with 11 points in the win.

The ’Cats trailed 14-13 after the first period but managed to turn the tide with a strong second quarter and outscored King 21-7.

“This is how I wanted our boys to respond after a sluggish morning,” Rio Hondo coach Mike Alvarez said. “I talked to the boys and I wasn’t too pleased with the way we played in the morning, and the way they responded showed me a lot about their character and just being able to put away a tough loss and come out with a big win.”