Two Shining Moments For San Antonio

Photo from NaLyssa Smith.

By Greg Sherman

TAMPA BAY, MINNEAPOLIS – San Antonio history was made twice in 24 hours at the Final Four. No, UTSA was not there, but a pair of San Antonians won titles.

On Sunday night, East Central alum NaLyssa Smith became the first girls’ player from a San Antonio UIL or TAPPS school to win a women’s basketball title since 1985, when Baylor beat defending champion Notre Dame. On Monday night, Holmes’ alum Marco Anthony became the first on the men’s side since 2008, when Virginia came from behind to beat Texas Tech in overtime.

This all on the heels of Judson becoming the first girls’ basketball team from San Antonio to ever win a UIL title, back on March 2nd.  Since the NCAA began awarding women’s basketball titles in 1982, this is the first time San Antonio alums have won titles on the men’s and women’s sides in the same year.

Smith made her first seven shots from the field, but fouled out and was a spectator, as Notre Dame missed a free throw that would have forced overtime.

“It was more nerve-racking sitting on the bench, not being able to continue anymore,” said Smith.

Photo from UVA athletics.

Anthony is a backup and did not get into the game and was relegated to cheerleader, as Virginia rebounded after becoming the first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed last year, and nearly did it again this year.

“It’s tough being on the bench, being a cheerleader. You love playing basketball and I was on the bench cheering during the game.  I told them we are just having fun out here, and it kept everyone loose. When you play intense, things don’t go right.  When you have fun, everything tends to go well.”

Both cited their time in San Antonio during their celebrations.

“It’s just exciting for my city because it [hasn’t] happened in so long,” said Smith.

“Holmes has always gotten a bad wrap for being labeled as a ghetto school and not being up with other schools. Holmes has a legacy, and, if you go there and you work hard, good things will happen,” said Anthony.

Anthony is believed to be the first Holmes’ alum to win a college sports team title since Cedric Griffin of Texas in 2005 in the famous Rose Bowl win over USC. Smith joins Henry Thomas as famous alums of East Central. Thomas played the little boy Elliott in E.T.

Greg Sherman covers high school sports for VYPE SA and can be reached at [email protected]

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