The Old Coach
Basketball

The Warren Warriors look to Dethrone Powerhouse Westlake

“We always put the team first before ourselves and have learned to play hard for each other every play.”

Those are the words of Earl Warren senior basketball player, Nick Vann. Vann and the Warriors have had one of the more impressive seasons in the schools’ history this past year as they currently sit at 27-5 and have a spot in the area round of the 6A regions 2 & 4 playoffs.

“The key to our success is definitely how well we not only play together as a team but also get along and genuinely care for each other,” Vann went on to say.

“If you ask anyone on this team who the best player on the team is they’ll all say themselves,” senior Kino Rodriguez-Thompson added. “We’re always looking for a challenge which leads to how hard we play.”

Warren High school was established in San Antonio, Texas in 2003. They’ve been on the precipice of breaking through in many sports including soccer in which they had an undefeated regular season in 2007. The football team has turned a corner making the state playoffs each of the past four years. Now, the basketball team looks to be the first to bring home a banner for the Warriors of Warren.

They were close in the 2011-2012 season when star player and current Brooklyn Net, Taurean Prince, led them to a 35-6 record and a 5A state semifinals appearance before ultimately coming up short to Fort Bend Travis.

The 2019-2020 squad looks for redemption for that Warriors team eight years ago.

“It would mean a lot for all of us because we know the work we put in that most other schools don’t and it’s on a daily basis, no days off and we always do it together,” Vann said.

“Man, that’s been the goal ever since this past offseason. It would mean so much to me and all the guys, we’ve worked so hard to get to where we are now, Rodriguez-Thompson said on winning a state title. “We all just want to be remembered forever, and to do that we have to take care of business.”

In order to make it to a state championship though, Warren has to get by their toughest opponent thus far in the area round of the playoffs, Austin Westlake.

“This is what we want, to have pressure put on to us because we have been able to handle adversity which I feel Westlake has not had as much as we have, Vann said. “Coach will put us in the best possible situation to win and come up with the best gameplay to make us successful we just have to execute.”

Austin Westlake is highly regarded as a state powerhouse in all sports. They hold 42 state titles across all of their athletics including three just in 2019 alone with football, girls, and boys golf.

Westlake has won state championships in almost all sports, a rare exception, however, has been in basketball. The program has won at least 30 games in four of the past five years, including a 33-1 record thus far in the 2019-2020 season, yet the Chaparrals are still looking for their first basketball state championship in program history.

“I’m just looking forward to the game. I get excited to play teams like those guys, they just bring the best out of me,” Rodriguez-Thompson said on playing Westlake. “Should be a super emotional and fun game.”

The Warriors on average are winning games by a margin of almost 16 points a game, they score 75 a contest while allowing only a hair over 59. The Warriors are led by two senior stars, Nick Vann and Kino Rodriguez-Thompson. Rodriguez-Thompson leads the way in points and rebounds with 14.5 and 5.6 respectively. He parlays that success into 3.4 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game and shoots above 40% from beyond the arc.

“What I think allows me to be so successful is personally is my confidence,” Rodriguez-Thompson said. “I don’t ever feel like there’s a shot I can’t make, a pass I can’t make, or a play I can’t make. I feel like I’m pretty well rounded on all areas of hooping.”

He’s complemented by Nick Vann, who leads the team in assists and steals per game with 4.7 and 1.8 respectively. Vann also scores just under 10 a game while shooting 40% from three-point range and leads the team in made shots from that distance.

“I wouldn’t be able to be leading in those categories if it wasn’t for my teammates, I make sure to get my teammates shots but it’s their job to knock them down and defensively we play as a team and play as a unit,” Vann said. “I’ve just been lucky enough to come up with the loose balls on that end.”

Warren is been quietly breaking through the ceiling in most sports, basketball, football, and soccer among others they have found success in. It’s a matter of when not if, Warren brings home their first state title. The 2019-2020 Basketball team is poised to be the first to do so.

“We all just want to be remembered forever.”

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