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Just like old times; Chapin and Andress renewal highlights electric basketball season

EL PASO, Texas - Coronado-Franklin. Ysleta-Riverside. Eastwood-Bel-Air. Jefferson-Bowie. Chapin-Andress.

The turn of February brings with it District Rivalries in Borderland Basketball, and the atmosphere at last Friday's Chapin-Andress game was a friendly reminder that this season, high school basketball in El Paso is as good as it's ever been.

"Andress-Chapin games are always hard fought," says Chapin Head Coach Rodney Lewis, who has coached on both sides of the rivalry. "And if you don't come to bring it, then the Northeast will tell you about it."

Lewis is in his 2nd season as Chapin's Head, but he also spent time as an assistant at Andress under Head Coach Jim Forbes.

The rivalry between the schools had lost a bit of luster of late, as city powerhouse Andress has dominated recent meetings. But Chapin's resurgent year behind an All-District backcourt and nationally touted freshman KJ Lewis has closed the gap.

With Chapin now battling Andress for city supremacy, it added a whole new dynamic to this year's game.

It turned out to be one of the games of the year, with Lewis and Andress guard Devonte Owens trading baskets all night in front of a packed gymnasium in the Northeast.

Chapin built a 7-point halftime lead, but the Eagles clawed back. And when Lewis was issued a technical foul midway through the 4th quarter, Andress built a lead that was insurmountable for the Huskies.

And in a hard-fought battle between a juggernaut and up-and-comer, composure ended up being the difference.

"Usually in a rivalry game, the team that controls their emotions and shows more maturity and poise and composure, usually come out on top," said Coach Lewis.

With so much at stake in these rivalry games, even the referees like 28-year veteran Mike Sanchez, have to dial it in.

"If you start listening to the crowd. And get involved with the crowd, we've always told the officials that they've basically bought you," says Sanchez, who was on the call at Chapin on Friday. "You just have to block it out and concentrate what's going on on in that rectangle."

One thing is for sure, the return of rivalry's like this one is great for basketball in the city.

"This game reminded me of games in the past where the gym was full. It was great atmosphere, and we're lucky to get out of here with a win," concluded Andress Head Coach Jim Forbes.

Sports / Texas Sports

Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is an ABC-7 sports anchor/reporter.

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