By RAUL GARCIA
MISSION — The Mission Veterans Patriots jumped out early on the Mercedes Tigers after the tip off of their second-round matchup in the 2019 Mission Thanksgiving Basketball Classic. Both teams traded blows using their up tempo offensive attack on the basket, but the Patriots proved to be too strong as they went on to defeat the Tigers 59-47 on Friday.
“It was a team effort,” Mission Veterans forward Jacob Arenous said. “We had to come back strong in the second half and give it our all to keep our lead.”
Arenous was a big part of the Patriots’ offense during the second half with his rebounding and second-attempt buckets. He finished with 15 points.
The Patriots will take on the Mission Eagles at 9 a.m. today, and the Tigers square off against Brownsville Hanna at 11 a.m. at Mission High.
Going into the second half, the Patriots led 34-25 and they didn’t let go of the gas pedal as they drove past the Tigers on the break and penetrated their zone defense from the get go.
Patriots power forward AJ Gonzaque ignited their scoring attack with a baseline drive for the score in the third quarter.
The Tigers didn’t back down as they went on a 9-2 scoring drive during the third with the help of Jordan Ovalle, Jay Ayala and Joseph Rocha.
Each combined for 20 points in the second half of play, attacking the basket and converting from 3-point land.
Ovalle led all scorers with 17 points.
Mercedes forward Horace Pequeño chipped in two in the second half.
The Tigers were able to cut the Patriots’ lead to as little as five points with the score 38-33 after Ovalle hit two at the free-throw line and Ayala scored down low after a Tigers steal.
“They played with a lot of intensity,” Mercedes head coach Rick Treviño said about the Patriots. “They jumped on us early.”
Heading into this contest, the Tigers defeated Mission High JV 71-34, and the Patriots defeated Brownsville Hanna 50-47.
“We’re getting better every game,” Mission Veterans head coach Jose Ramos said. “I like the progress we are making.”