HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Odessa High makes the right call for home game

Odessa High boys basketball coach Neal Welch saw the sun shining through big glass windows on the Odessa College campus before a coin flip to decide second place in District 2-6A with Permian.

Welch got the opportunity to make the call after making the correct guess on a number between one and 20, so he called heads.

When the coin landed, he thought it originally landed on tails until he took a closer look and realized it was going in his team’s favor.

The Bronchos ended up with the opportunity to host their first postseason game of the Class 6A playoffs.

“Either a home game or a drive to El Paso, that’s the biggest coin flip I’ve ever been involved in,” Welch said. “It was a good feeling to get to know that we’re going to host a playoff game.”

Odessa High will play its bi-district round matchup against El Paso Eastwood at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the OHS Fieldhouse.

The Bronchos look to bounce back after closing out the regular season with a 71-66 loss at San Angelo Central.

In the loss, Welch saw his team uncharacteristically miss about 15 layups and shots his players normally make.

A slow third quarter played a big role in how the contest went down for the Bronchos, so the head coach hopes his team got that out of its system as it tries to make a postseason run.

Odessa High started its postseason practices Thursday with high intensity running and fast-paced drills to get into a rhythm.

A combination of experience and younger energy was prevalent in who was leading the pack during the practice session.

Coco Rose is one of the Bronchos’ senior leaders and he was vocal in the support he was giving his teammates through its drills.

His play meshed well with that of Ivan Carreon, a sophomore who has made his presence felt in the paint with his 6-foot-6 frame.

Rose feels good about making the playoffs and the prospects of this year’s group at Odessa High.

“Sophomore year we went to playoffs, but I don’t think we were as good as we are now,” Rose said. “I feel like we could make a little run in the playoffs.”

The senior guard believes his team has an advantage going into the playoffs at home because it practices on the OHS Fieldhouse’s court every day.

When Odessa High found out it would be playing El Paso Eastwood, players and coaches knew they would be getting a highly competitive and intense opponent.

Carreon knows it will be positive having Bronchos’ fans in the stands to support the team.

“This year, everybody came and they’ve been filling the stands up,” Carreon said. “It’s been a good environment for us.”

The Bronchos started watching film on El Paso Eastwood before their Thursday practice and Welch said the amount of players the Troopers use stood out.

He knows the visitors will provide a tough matchup.

“They’ve got two guards that look the same, very, very quick and they’ve got some guys that can shoot it,” Welch said. “In their district, the top three teams were close almost every game.

“They could have easily been first place if the ball bounces their way on a couple possessions, so they’re a very, very good team.”

Through nondistrict play and its normal district opponents, Odessa High got solid preparation for the playoffs and they’ll try to show that in their first postseason contest.

Rose wants to keep his season going, now that he is in the final stretch of his high school career.

“I’m hoping to get a couple more games in,” Rose said. “I for sure want to take everything serious and try to win every game.”

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