In the basketball realm, there’s nothing quite like walking into a new gym and picking up that fresh hardwood smell. The cleanliness of the facility and shimmer on the hardwood give you that “oooh” and “aww” moment.
After years of having to be nomads, playing home games on college campuses, middle schools or neighboring high schools, Schertz John Paul II finally logged their first true home game. Opening a brand new facility and playing their first game, hosting district opponent Incarnate Word Academy (Corpus Christi).
The buzz and excitement did not disappoint as the Guardians came strong out of the gate. After a tied contest at four all, a barrage of buckets would ensue. Senior Geoffrey Maldonado would add a deuce down low, Chase Swan would connect on a three-pointer from the right wing, Maldonado would have a one-handed hammer on a break-away, and plenty of other offense would find the bottom of the net.
JP2 would go on a 29-0 run that would last the rest of the first quarter and stem into the second frame, giving them a 33-4 advantage. Right before the break, Chase Clinton would get his own miss and putback, making it a 42-14 lead at halftime for the Guardians.
Maldonado would have a game high 21 points and 15 of them came in the first half. The 6’5” senior talked about his performance and getting established out of the gate.
“In prior games I came off a little slump, so I was coming in a little bit more hungry. I was just trying to get into the game and I just found my rhythm and let it fly.”
The second half would see Schertz John Paul II go up by as many as 47 points, before closing out the win, 76-30. Scoring was balanced across the book with Maldonado, Joshua McGuire, Chase Clinton, and Arath Velasquez all going for double digits in the win.
JP2 improves to 10-15 overall, 3-1 in TAPPS District 3-4A. Don’t let the sub .500 mark deceive you, as fourteen of their non-district games were against 5A and 6A public schools.
“I definitely think it carries a lot of momentum. Playing those 5A/6A schools, really high competition. It prepares us for the teams that we’re going to see in the playoffs and TAPPS finals. The record doesn’t really mean anything to us. It’s really about us finding our weaknesses, honing down on them in practice and fixing them in games,” said Maldonado.
The Guardians have made the TAPPS 4A State Semifinals 2 out of the last 3 years, and were a State Finalist in 2021. With depth, decent size, and consistent guard play, all the ingredients are present for Schertz John Paul to make a deep run into the TAPPS playoffs again.