The high school basketball season is underway and nobody in district 16-6A and possibly the state has higher expectations than the Atascocita Eagles. Led by Coach David Martinez the Eagles are ranked 1st in Region II, 2nd in the state and 9th in the nation according to Max Preps and are the heavy favorites to repeat as district champions. The boys are off to a hot start staying undefeated thus far (14-0).
The Eagles competed in the McDonalds Texas Invitational in November and came away as the Division 1 Gold bracket champions defeating Desoto 51-50 in the finals. “It’s probably the premier tournament of the state. There’s not many better in terms of competition,” Coach Martinez said. Even shorthanded, the boys managed to find a way to win. With injuries looming, players from the JV team were added to the tournament roster for depth purposes. “The guys as role players had to step up and play more minutes and they did an incredible job,” Coach Martinez continued. It was also an emotional win for Coach Martinez having been an assistant with Desoto and helping them win a state title in 2003. “It showed us where we’re at and where we can be if we keep working hard,” Coach Martinez stated. Brandon Loville was named tournament MVP.
The boys also managed to win the Jack Frost Invitational Basketball Tournament in Georgetown, TX in early December. They went 5-0 and defeated Lake Travis 41-38 in the finals to claim their 2nd tournament championship of the season. Greg Shead, Matt Willrodt, and Carsen Edwards (tournament MVP) were named to the 2014 Boys’ All-Tournament team.
Atascocita’s basketball team advanced to the regional finals last season after going undefeated in district, both a first in the basketball program’s history. Though it was a successful season, Coach Martinez says this team is totally different; “Last year we were big, fast, and athletic. This year we’re [dominantly] fast and skilled at every position. We share the ball well, the kids love playing together, and it’s just a different makeup of team. We’re really fun to watch.” The team graduated two players from last year’s squad who went on to play division one basketball: Joe Burton (Oklahoma State) and Zach Haney (Boise St). Though these players have moved on the Eagles still have plenty of weapons up their sleeve. “We have a number of guys that can carry us on any given night; it’s not just one guy.”
Throughout the success of last season Coach Martinez says he’ll be the first to admit that he was living in the moment but all along knowing there was still a chance to get to the state tournament. This year, the team’s mindset is just taking care of business. “We really didn’t have an idea of what the ride was going to look like and we just enjoyed every victory and enjoyed being around each other,” Coach Martinez admitted. When the ride had finally come to an end, Coach Martinez made sure the boys knew how proud he was to have had the privilege to coach them: “I told them before the game; regardless win or lose I’m going to love you either way. You’re still my guys.” He stressed how the last game was a tough one to take.
In Coach Martinez’s first year of coaching he was coaching under the direction of Steve Sylestine at John Jay High School in San Antonio, TX which is also his alma mater. His high school coach, David Stelmazewski whom is now a superintendent at Boerne ISD, was a big influence on his career. Martinez attended and played basketball for two years at Wharton Junior College before transferring to Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) in San Marcos, TX to earn his bachelors.
The Eagles will compete in The Insperity Holiday Classic Tournament on December 29th at Kingwood High School. District begins on January 2nd vs College Park in The Woodlands.
Written by Mark M. Johnson