United’s stars take over

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Basketball is classified as a team sport, but sometimes it’s more about the individual.

That’s what happened in United’s 73-60 win over Alexander.

The players and the students in the stands wanted to leave the game with the right to brag about their decades-old rival.

“For not being in school all week and not all the minutes, I’m glad there was such a nice crowd,” said United manager Archie Ramos. “These kids have known each other since kindergarten and have played together in boys’ clubs their entire lives. For some, this is the last year they play, so it’s fun.”


The Longhorns’ star players understood that they would control the game.

The day before every United player was equally involved in the win over Eagle Pass but on Saturday night it should be about the three or four difference makers on either side.

Diego Saldana scored the first seven points and looked invincible on the outside and on the inside.

Carlos Castro took over at the end of both halves and finished the game with 16 points and seven assists.

Nicholas Cruz was a reliable, high-quality taker and maker in the tight third quarter.

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were down 14 at halftime because they played the wrong way as a team.

At his best, Adrian Orozco makes playing basketball look pretty easy. And on the night his ability was easier than ever, he reminded everyone what he’s capable of. But the attempt came too late.

Too often in the first half, Orozco would push on teammates to get them in the flow. And nothing changed when the Longhorns broke up.

He finally accepted the challenge in the second half – match United’s stars bucket by bucket. He locked himself in it.

With a total of 14 points in the third quarter, which isn’t even his highest single-scoring quarter, Orozco had the entire catalog on display. Deep post position baskets. Power drives, both on the half field and in rotation. A healthy dose of face-up and step-back jumpers. One coast to coast and one.

Orozco’s 24 points took the Bulldogs to five points, but then the Longhorns woke up again and put the game out of reach. He also had some help from Nick Ordonez, who finished with 17 points.

Alexander had the top two scorers, but no other bulldog scored more than seven. Four Longhorns scored in double digits.

Only the basketball gods know what that game would have looked like had Alexander matched United’s early aggression.

Extra players made extra games when needed, notably Ramon Chavez and Javen Colbert. The two extended the five-point lead to 11 with two 3-pointers late in the third quarter, and the Longhorns never looked back.

“I came out confident,” Chavez said. “[Colbert]turned me on and the shot was there.”

Ramos said the team played smart all night.

“We got really high percentage shots and attacked the rim,” said Ramos. “That got us going to start scoring a lot of goals on offense again.”

United are now 4-1 in the district game and appear to be in a great position to win their fourth straight district title.

Alexander sits at 2-3 and has a chance to return to .500 with United South after Tuesday’s matchup. The Bulldogs previously beat the Panthers 54-42 on December 21.

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