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MISSION -- Freshman Jesse Pistokache took some verbal shots from a hostile Memorial road crowd last night, but it was his own shots and cool play that led his Sharyland team to victory. The frosh hit two free-throws in the final minute to put frosting on his 16 points and the icing to his team’s 44-35 win.

For head coach David Keith, he was happy to get the win, especially because “we finished [the game].”

Also pleased was the Rattler crowd, who helped as a sixth man by coming out in large numbers and having a few tricks up their sleeves. In a planned act, Shary fans remained silent until their home team scored its tenth point. That point was scored by Pistokache, which was set up by a steal by Iain Guy. As soon as the ball hit the bottom of the net the crowd went crazy and Pistokache fed off that by hitting a sweet jumper just moments later to put his team up 13-10.

Overall, though, the first half points were hard to come by for Sharyland as they rushed their offense, putting up quick and timid shots. However, defensively they played well in a 3-2 zone, led by Quino Pistokache. The Rattler’s D frustrated the Mustangs into six first quarter turnovers. Though those turnovers did not always turn into points, Memorial was clearly rattled.

Keeping the away team in it and his crowd energized was Juan Gonzalez, who was deadly from behind the arc. His two second quarter three-pointers helped keep Shary from widening their scoring margin. Instead, Memorial found itself only down a manageable 18-13 at halftime.

In the second half Sharyland came out more aggressive offensively, again led by the younger Pistokache. The freshman scored his team’s first seven points and then was helped by big man John Hoerner who put back his teammate’s missed shot, making the lead the largest of the night, 27-16.

However, Memorial’s Gonzalez was not ready to give in. The junior hit two threes in the final two minutes to cut his team’s deficit to five, 32-27.

[Juan] was on fire,” conceded Keith.

That momentum by the Mustangs continued early in the fourth when Shary committed some errant fouls and turnovers, allowing the Mustangs to cut the lead to one. Though Shary would build that lead back to four, Memorial again cut it to one behind another Gonzalez three-pointer.

However, it would be the last of the night. The Rattlers went on a 9-1 run in the final three and a half minutes behind two baskets by Eduardo Garcia and the older Pistokache.

Garcia’s final basket may have been the real nail in the coffin. With less than a minute to go and Shary possessing the ball at Memorial’s baseline, Jesse Pistokache exploited Memorial’s full court press by launching a long ball to a streaking Garcia who softly laid the ball in for a layup.

Seconds later Pistokache iced the game with his free throws.

“I am really proud of them,” said Keith, speaking of his team. “They are happy and energized by [the win].”

The victory puts Shary on a three-game win streak since losing to Nikki Rowe in the district opener. However, Keith says the team can’t stop here.

“As far as the district, we know nothing is over. It’s one game. I am pleased but again its one where we have to get up tomorrow to get ready for the next one.”

That next one will be at Mission, this Friday.

Game MVP: The players clearly fed off the atmosphere and that was established by the Sharyland Crowd. This was one of the best Rattler crowds in some years as they had a great student turnout, came prepared with a cheering act and stuck to it. An MVP performance.

Other Results-Boys

La Joya 70 Mission 41: Ricky Salinas scored 13 points for the Coyotes and helped end his team’s two-game win streak. La Joya is now 2-2 in district play while Mission fell to 0-4.

Nikki Rowe 54 Palmview 45: The Lobos had a tough third quarter as they were outscored 19-8. Mario De La Garza led the team with 11 points. 

Brownsville Veterans Memorial 50 Veterans Memorial 35: The losing slide continues for the Patriots. Vets has now lost four straight and are 3-5 in district play.

Roma 56 Juarez-Lincoln 46: A valient showoing by the Huskies to play well. However, the loss drops them to 4-4 in district play.

Other Results-Girls

La Joya 34 Mission 31: The Lady Coyotes are beginning to position themselves nicely for at least a fourth place finish. Leyla Platas scored 18 points in the win. La Joya is 4-2 in district play while Mission is 3-3.

Nikki Rowe 57 Palmview 40: The Lady Lobos had a decent showing and were led by Gabby Rodriguez’s 19 points.

Veterans Memorial 64 Brownsville Veterans Memorial 28: Kassy Lopez scored 17, Briana Casas had 16 and Christina Anguiano chipped in with 11 as the Lady Patriots furthered their win streak to eight.

Sharyland 49 Memorial 16: An easy win for the Lady Rattlers. Shary is now 5-1 in district play.

Roma 38 Juarez-Lincoln 30: Maria De Alejandro led the Lady Huskies with 10 points in the loss.

Dave Gillespie is the sports editor for The Progress Times. All comments, suggestions and scores can be e-mailed to him at

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