Pirates have six new faces for 2018-19 season

Team Photo The 2018-19 Victoria College Pirates are, from left, Vince Prado, Cameron Ivey, Reynard Wade, Ronald Dinnon, Darien Henry, Henry Stewart, Jaron Dennis, Ruben Trevino, Jonathan Boehm and Bryant Wolf.

The Victoria Pirates are wanting to enter the National Junior College Athletic Association next year with some momentum.

The Pirates opened their 2018-19 basketball schedule Wednesday night at Southwest Texas Junior College, and seek to defend their Texas Collegiate Club Sports League title before entering the NJCAA in 2019-20.

“They want to repeat big time,” said Pirates head coach Jesse Ortega. “That’s kind of what this team’s main focus is. They really don’t want to lose any games, but we know it’s going to be hard because we will face some pretty tough competition.”

The Pirates’ schedule includes future NJCAA foes Coastal Bend College, Lee College, Blinn College, Ranger College, Lamar State College and Temple College.

“Playing these teams always helps us prepare and overcome things,” Prado said. “Like when we play NJCAA teams, the pressure is always more. The speed is always faster, so when it comes to conference games, it's a lot slower for us, but we're still moving fast.”

The Pirates have six new players on this year’s roster.

“I think we'll be a little bit faster this year than we were last year,” sophomore guard Jaron Dennis said. “We have a lot of shooters this year.”

“We basically have the same team from last year, we’re just longer and quicker,” Prado said. “I feel like that's going to help us take the title this year as well.”

The Pirates’ first home game will be their TCCSL opener at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24 against San Antonio College.

“We're looking good,” Ortega said. “We’re a lot better than I thought we would be at this point. These guys listen very well and they're very disciplined.”