The St. Joseph’s Academy Antlers won two consecutive Texas Catholic Interscholastic League basketball state championships in 1971-72 and 1972-73. Both teams will be enshrined in the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday at the Laredo Country Club.

For many years, St. Joseph’s Academy served as Laredo’s Catholic high school for boys. Run by the Marist Brothers, the academy produced young leaders, who grew up to be judges, doctors, elected officials and community leaders.

It also produced something else: two back-to-back Texas Catholic Interscholastic League basketball state championship teams in 1971-72 and 1972-73.

The ’72 and ’73 Antlers had all the ingredients of champions. Their roads to victory was littered with come-from-behind victories, clutch plays and never-giveup attitudes. Strong individual, team, bench and defensive efforts resulted in Laredo’s state basketball championships.

The 1972 team broke the ice by playing hard-nosed basketball with comeback victories in the district and bi-district championships, and clutch plays in the state tournament in San Antonio — with wins over Wichita Falls Norte Dame, 63-61, and an explosive final over Saint John Ennis, 71-54.

The 1973 team was no different in its quest for a repeat. In the state final, the Antlers faced Galveston O’Connell game requiring a deep bench to fill in for injuries and foul trouble. The Antlers served a strong defensive team effort resulting in a 59-52 victory. That team was named “Team of the Year,” with a 33-4 record.

The Antlers went to the state championships with a different rosters and some returning players, but two different coaches.

Homero Adame coached one team, while Brother James Meehan and Chuck Meara coached the other.

David Rodriguez, David Longoria, Faustino Garza, Bill Hovel, Ralph Ortiz, Danny Ortiz, Ernesto Rubio, Tony Pogue, Robert Juarez, Andres Garcia, George Garcia, Jaime Gonzalez, Robert Haynes, Adrian Rodriguez, Eddie Acosta, Frank Idrogo, and Carlos Garza played and reached the top of their sport.

Although St. Joseph’s closed its doors a year after the Antlers won its second state championship, the memories of those storybook runs still hold a special place in the hearts of the community.