HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Odessa High, Permian set for playoff run

The Odessa High and Permian boys basketball teams took different routes, but ended up in the same place:

>> The Class 6A state playoffs.

It was anything but easy for both squads, however, as they had to battle each night to punch their postseason tickets.

That Panthers put in some extra work, as well.

Odessa High started its district slate 0-2 and then won six of the next eight to earn the No. 2 seed behind champion Wolfforth Frenship.

That earned the Bronchos a home game against El Paso Coronado in the bi-district round at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the OHS Fieldhouse.

“We got a really big win at (San Angelo) Central on Tuesday and that’s a really hard place to win,” Odessa High coach Neal Welch said. “We knew that whoever won the game was going to be the No. 2 seed and the other team would be tied for a playoff spot.

“It’s exciting to have a home playoff game. This is our second year in a row and we’re hoping to get a win and move on.”

Permian rode the roller coaster during district play, going 3-5 (loss, win, loss, win, loss, win, loss, loss) to put itself in must-win territory just to try and force play-in games.

The Panthers then defeated the Bronchos by one and fashioned their first winning streak in district with a victory against Midland Legacy.

Permian got the help it needed to reach the play-in tournament and defeated San Angelo Central (68-66) and Midland High (75-53) to earn the No. 3 seed.

At the same time, the Panthers were making adjustments to their lineup that took some time to gel.

Permian will be on the road against El Paso Franklin at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Franklin High School.

“We have chemistry now with the new players, knowing what they’re doing,” senior center Race Herr said.

Senior forward Elijah Minjarez added,” We had to adapt to a new rotation. We had to step up and teach the new guys coming up.”

One thing that both Welch and Permian head coach Steven Flores agree on is that they play throughout district has prepared their respective teams for what lies ahead.

Odessa High’s six victories came by a combined 15 points.

“Our district just beats up on each other,” Welch said. “We knew that everyone was going to be tough.

After the start, we changed some things about our shot selections and schemes and give credit to the players for responding to being coached hard.”

Permian, meanwhile had to avenge losses to the Bronchos and San Angelo Central during the first half of district in order to even have a chance.

Once that was accomplished, it was a nerve-wracking two nights at Stanton High School to solidify the third spot.

Pacing the sideline during the game, Flores was much more relaxed after Friday’s victory against Midland High.

“Making the playoffs is one of the goals at the beginning of every season,” he said. “I think we are gelling at the right time.

“We’ll get on the bus Tuesday and be ready to play.”

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide