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I35 HS Showdown: Quick Thoughts & a BOLD Statement

By Antonio G. Castillo, 09/19/22, 9:15PM CDT


A look back at this weekend, shotgun blast style...

San Antonio, TX-

A full day’s slate of high school hoops went down on Saturday in the 210. Forty-eight high schools converged from all over the Tri-Regions in preparation for the upcoming high school season. Talent, competition and high flying athleticism were in abundance on all six courts. Here’s a shotgun blast on some of the quick thoughts just 48 hours after.

The Coastal Bend has a pair of ballers
6’3” Donny Thomas (2024) and  6’1” Kristian Ramos (2025) can hoop. Thomas had several highlights with his athleticism on display. Ramos wasn’t far behind. Both also had no issues using their perimeter game to cause damage. Bishop HS is located South of Corpus Christi. These two will be responsible for letting on lookers know that the Coastal Bend has talent too.

A new era at Cole HS
This last name should sound familiar, “Livingston.” This time it’s 5’10” James Livingston (2024). With no Trey Blackmore or older brother Silas for the first time in four years, the younger brother seems primed and ready to be the face of the 3A State power. He netted nearly back-to-back 30 pieces on Saturday, scoring off the dribble and raining them in from the perimeter.

Jaylen Crocker is a beast
At 225lbs, there just aren’t many high school bodies that can bang or check the 6’7” big from Warren HS. If his strength weren’t enough of a problem, he’s an above average athlete that will also put you in the rim. The 2023 prospect does have D1 offers and is weighing all options. He’s a double-double machine who smothers the glass, and he’s using a set perimeter game to add to his skillset. He connected on a couple of treys and isn’t shy of stepping out onto the short corner or wing.

The Brennan Bears are the talk of the town
All you had to do was look at the standing room only crowds that circled their courts each time they played. This team is extremely talented and extremely young. 8 out of their first 10 bodies in the rotation are all either 2025’s or 2026’s. This is a team that played in the Region IV Final last season, and talent wise, they’re even better this year. With all this talent and attention, expectations are also become lofty.

Expect Champion to be right there again
Speaking of repeating what you did, the Chargers looked primed and ready to work in what will be a brutal District 26-5A after reclassification. District foes will now feature the likes of Wagner and SA Veterans Memorial. The trio of Dakarai Hodge, Braden Baum, and Charlie Georgelos, sprinkled in with some solid perimeter shooting from Quinn Grable and Mason Wyatt, you have very formidable team who should fully expect to get back to the State Semifinals. The road will not be easy, but when in doubt, you take the experienced team that’s done it before.

Big man impresses for Clark
Standing 6’9”, big man Ethan Croley (2023) has been working and continues to work. Just eye-balling it, probably tips the scale at 225lbs-230lbs and there aren’t many who can dislodge him once established in the paint. He stays active, gets up and down the floor, hits the glass hard and with his physicality becomes imposing to most defenders. He showed he can get up above the rim and flush it when needed as well. Also had a nice touch when facing up.

Killeen Ellison will be a bigger problem in 5A
With Oklahoma State commit Jamyron Keller leading the charge, plus six experienced seniors and a very talented sophomore in Ahziel “JoJo” McIver (2025), look for the Eagles to thrive reclassifying to 5A in Region III. This team is athletic, fast, explosive, and they hound you on defense.  

A team to watch in the 830/South TX
The Pleasanton Eagles who are about 35 minutes south of SA, are a 4A team to keep an eye on. A scrappy bunch that is all seniors, that play as a symmetrical unit on the hardwood. Whether it’s RJ Marquez (2023), Layne Dowdy (2023) or Jake Casias (2023), anyone of them can lead the offensive attack and its high intensity for 32 minutes. Include Somerset as a district foe, District 29-4A will certainly be fun to watch.



Fall ball is not necessarily about the win’s and losses. Most teams might not even have a full arsenal of players yet. However, it can certainly be used as a measuring stick to get a feel for a coach’s rotation, players who might be borderline varsity and need more time on JV, or even working on some offensive and defensive schemes heading into October and November.

Those same gauges didn’t feel as if they applied to the Brennan Bears. This team fell one game short of the State Semifinals, and they presumably return more experienced and with more talent. They’re rotation is 12 deep, and they can throw 3 bodies of 6’7” or taller (Jackson, Crawford, McAfee) at you any time. Guards, take your pick (Flemings, Cowgill, Todd). Wings (Johnson, Ward, Onwe), athleticism, and perimeter shooting? Check the boxes on all three. Defensively, with Flemings and Ward, an opposing team’s best athlete can be checked and Jackson is waiting in the paint as an eraser.

So, what is the bold statement? These young Bears are still one season/year away from climbing to the proverbial top of the UIL mountain, a 6A State Championship. Can they compete with a Duncanville or Atascocita? Absolutely. Are they physically strong enough or savvy to mitigate youthfulness and inexperience? One more year (2022-2023) of battle tested waters will certainly help that.

In the meantime, mark it down ladies and gentlemen, IF this team can stay together, you are looking at the team from San Antonio that can break through and “Rock Bottom” the stranglehold of DFW and Houston basketball on Boys UIL 6A competition. Patience is a virtue, and the Bears will need it. So will high school hoops fans of the Metro San Antonio area, because in front of your eyes you have the team that can break the drought of two decades plus at the highest UIL basketball level.

The Alamo City has waited 20 years already, what’s one more year? Head Coach Dakota Cowgill (aka The Albino Rhino) is firmly aware of all the attention his program is garnering, and like it or not, the court of public opinion has rendered it’s verdict. Coach Cowgill has to now execute the sentence and get the job done. Anything else will be a failure and the drought of 20 plus years will start feeling like a life sentence to the fans of the Alamo City.