By Pat Turner
O’Connor’s girls had a productive non-district run.
Now, the Panthers are looking to carry that success into highly-competitive District 27-6A. O’Connor (14-4), which had its final tune-up earlier this week against Cibolo Steele, begins league play with a major test as the Panthers face Brennan.
The Bears, making the jump from Class 4A where they advanced to the State Tournament the past two years, are the pre-season favorite to claim the 27-5A title. However, the Panthers have shown they are capable contenders.
Another big impression came this past week as O’Connor carved out a 67-58 win over Reagan.
The combination of Kasey Saldana and Amber Vidal played a big role in getting O’Connor rolling quickly with a 23-7 lead in the first period.
Reagan made attempts at a comeback, but Saldana (22 points) and Vidal (21 points), along with help from Brianna Kallead, Shelbi Miller, Erica Garza and Natalie McCoy enabled the Panthers to maintain their advantage.
O’Connor coach Brett Jewasko has watched his Panthers go through hot and cold spells during the non-district portion of the season.
At times, things have looked sharp. However, there are those lapses that keep putting the Panthers in a jam. With District 27-6A play beginning in January, the O’Connor coach will be spending the next few weeks making sure everything is in working order when the real fun begins.
After all, 27-6A has the look of being highly competitive once again, especially with the addition of Brennan. At least, the Panthers have time to right the wrongs.
“We’re trying to piece it together,” Jewasko said. “We’re trying to work on playing a full 32 minutes. We have a lot of new faces. We’re trying to get that continuity. The good thing about it is we don’t start district until January so we have some extra time to jell.
“The more situations these guys can get in during non-district, the better it will prepare them for district. In our district you have to have that grit and find a way to win the close games.”
O’Connor had an up-and-down showing in the recent River City Classic in New Braunfels while finishing with a 2-2 record.
The Panthers began the tournament with a 75-69 victory over Laredo Alexander as Jacob Kouremetis (14 points), DeAndre Young (12 points) and PJ Medrano (11 points) led a balanced scoring attack.
O’Connor then lost to Churchill (67-54) and Sam Houston (54-50) but ended tournament play with a 69-51 win over 27-5A foe Warren.
“I’m seeing a lot of improvement,” Jewasko said. “During the last weekend we played four games in the South San Tournament and started to jell. We did some good things in this tournament. We’re starting to come together. Now, the key is continuing the progress, because you want to be your best in January