Alvarado basketball

The Alvarado Indians took first place at the West Kolache Classic tournament over the weekend to improve to 8-1 on the season.

ALVARADO — The Alvarado Indians are off to a strong 8-1 start to the season, including a first-place finish at the West Kolache Classic Tournament over the weekend.

The Indians went 5-0 Thursday through Saturday, capped off with a 67-56 win over Rice, to secure the Kolache Classic Tournament championship.

Alvarado’s lone blemish so far this season is a 77-69 loss to Arlington Oakridge (which is 11-0) on Nov. 25.

“It’s been a great start,” Alvarado coach Francisco Islas said. “I think playing in the Crowley fall league has really helped jumpstart our season. We have been able to take that success and transfer it to the beginning of the season.”

Islas said the West Tournament provided the Indians with a couple of different looks across the three days.

“I think this tournament shows that we can be successful against any style of play,” Islas said. “We played Airline High School, out of Louisiana, and they were huge  and athletic. They had a 6-foot-6 forward that hurt us and was clogging up the middle. Although we like to play fast, we had to slow it down and make it more of a defensive battle. We were able to do just that and grind out a 48-41 win. The fact that our kids can adjust to any style of play make us tough to play.”

Leading the way for the Indians has been junior guard Will Johnson — the All-Johnson County offensive player of the year last season. Johnson was voted by coaches as the Kolache Classic MVP.

“Will played outstanding this weekend,” Islas said. “As previously mentioned, he finishes at the rim, but he has added a three-point shot to his game. When he gets it going he is hard to stop and commands a lot of attention.”

But the Indians have far been a one-man show. Through the majority of its first nine games, Alvarado has had at least three players score in double figures.

“Our team is playing so unselfish,” Islas said. “Our team motto is ‘Team over I’ — and we have really lived up to it thus far. Everyone on our team can shoot, so when teams try to key on Will it allows others to get it going. Jordan Caldwell has really stood out shooting 26-of-59 from three (44.1 percent). He is 6-foot-5 and is creating problems for opposing teams.”

To reach the tournament championship game, Alvarado beat Harker Heights junior varsity, 78-39. Johnson led the way with 17 points while Jake McCullough (13), Ka’Lon Johnson (12) and Trent Keener (12) also scored in double figures.

On Friday, Alvarado went 2-0 with wins of 80-43 over Godley and 48-41 over Airline Louisiana.

In the win over Godley, Will Johnson scored a game-high 20 points while Caldwell netted 15 points with Ka’Lon Johnson pitching in 12 points.

In the win over Airline, Waylon Carillo led the Indians with 11 points while Will Johnson added nine points (a season low).

On Thursday, the Indians opened play in the Kolache Classic with an 8 7-51 win over McGregor. Will Johnson poured in 29 points, including 15 in the first quarter. Caldwell scored 15 points while Ka’Lon Johnson netted 14 and Keener pitched in 13.

The Indians are scheduled to compete in the Martin’s Mill Tournament later this week.

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