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MISSION -- David Keith has no illusions about the Memorial Mustangs, his basketball squad’s opponent in tonight’s District 30-5A showdown.

“Every year it is a good game,” said Keith of his past battles with the Mustangs. “We have had some really close ones in the past. It is intense.”

For this reason the game has been chosen as The Progress Times’ “Big Six” Tuesday Game of the Night.

It was for sure intense a year ago when these two teams met at Memorial High School. The Rattlers were up nearly the entire game before a hostile Mustang crowd came alive, giving their home team the needed momentum to come back and win in the final minute. It was the beginning of a difficult stretch for a Rattlers team who was bent on competing for the district championship. Instead they lost key games against Nikki Rowe, McHi and to Memorial again before settling for the final spot in postseason play.

Thus tonight’s game is crucial for Sharyland and Memorial. Both teams are on a two-game winning street after losing their district-opening games. Shary dropped a close one to Nikki Rowe on the road and the Mustangs fell to McHi. Keith and his boys have rallied since then, taking down Donna 91-21 and then Palmview, 62-42.

“They are a good team,” said Keith of Memorial, before adding that their guards are solid and their post play has not suffered since losing a key inside player. “They are good and a team we have to be ready for.”

The backbone of that preparation will be Quino Pistokache, one of the three seniors on the squad and certainly the one with the most game experience. The multi-faceted player has been the team’s leader in the offseason up until now. The senior scored 14 points in his team’s road win over Palmview last Friday.

Freshman guard Jesse Pistokache, the younger brother of Quino, will also be expected to play big. Though just a freshman, Jesse is the team’s leading scorer and best athlete. However, the brothers will need the help of their big men, John Hoerner and Madrigal—the two Johns—to bring in the rebounds and points inside the paint.

Keith said his two bigs give his team balance. Equality in point distribution and defense will be key for the Rattlers. In any case, the game promises to be exciting.

Tonight’s game starts at 7:30 p.m.

Other Games-Boys

Mission at La Joya: The Eagles played their best basketball of the season in their 67-56 loss to McHi. La Joya is on a two-game losing streak after falling Memorial, 55-44. The Coyotes have struggled in the fourth quarter the past couple games and Mission has yet to win a district game. The big question for tonight is if La Joya can finish out the Eagles.

Veterans Memorial at Brownsville Veterans Memorial: The Patriots need a win. Badly. Three straight losses by close margins have hurt Veterans’ quest for the postseason. A visit to Cameron County to a decent Veterans Memorial team will not be a cupcake.

Juarez-Lincoln at Roma: The Huskies are playing as well as anyone in the district but tonight’s game in Starr County will be a big test, as Roma is the district’s top team after beating Hidalgo in two overtimes last Friday. Juarez has already shown the ability to come up big when they themselves took down the Pirates a couple weeks ago. Tonight’s game is a test on steroids.

Other Games-Girls

Memorial at Sharyland: The Lady Mustangs are really struggling this year. The Lady Rattlers, by contrast, are tied for first and playing really well. 

Mission at La Joya: These two teams are competing for a solid footing in fourth place. The Lady Eagles are coming off a tough loss to McHi while the Lady Coyotes are on a three game district win streak. Mission likes games to be low-scoring while La Joya likes to run.

Veterans Memorial at Brownsville Veterans Memorial: The Lady Pats are wanting to continue to improve as they prepare for a rematch with Hidalgo in one week.

Juarez-Lincoln at Roma: Another tough matchup for the struggling Lady Huskies.

Dave Gillespie is the sports editor for The Progress Times. Comments and suggestion can be sent to

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