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District 30-5A boys basketball kicks off tonight and the race for the championships is, in many ways, an open race. Nikki Rowe won it last year but Sharyland has received a lot of the hype due to the duo known as the Pistokache Boys. However, the Rattlers have struggled to play on all cylinders.

One team who seems poised to make an ironic run for the title could be the Palmview Lobos, as a dark hourse. The Lobos are 15-3 and have come down with big wins over Weslaco and Harlingen High School. For a team that finished with only two district wins last year to be even considered a contender for a playoff spot is remarkable.

Leading the Lobos is Mario De La Garza, a talented baller who can score with ease. Against Harlingen on Tuesday, De La Garza dropped 30. Against Weslaco at the end of November he scored 20. Fortunately, De La Garza is not alone as Danny Rios let go for twenty points against Grulla two weeks ago.

Tonight the Lobos take on the Mission Eagles, another team who struggled last year. The Eagles have not had quite the success as Palmview, but they are fortunate enough to possess perhaps the best guard in the district, Peter Arizpe. The junior guard, like De La Garza, is his team’s leading scorer and will be counted on to come up big in today’s district opener, in front of his home crowd.

Other Games-Boys

Roma at Veterans Memorial: The Patriots have started their district with three straight wins, beating Juarez-Lincoln, Mercedes and Valley View. Romeo De La Garza’s squad has been led by Joshua Villarreal. A win over the district’s defending champs would be a great start for Veterans.

Sharyland at Nikki Rowe: This is a tough first game for the Rattlers. The squad has struggled with living up to its potential and Rowe is eager to defend their 2011 district championship.

La Joya at Donna: The Coyotes are much like the Rattlers, in terms of consistency. However, this is a winnable game for the Coyotes and Ricky Salinas will be one counted on to get it done.

Brownsville Veterans Memorial at Juarez-Lincoln: The Huskies proved last year they can compete in this district and they are proving it again this year with a win over Hidalgo and a tough loss to Veterans Memorial. Tonight’s Vets team should be a little easier.

Other games-girls

Veterans Memorial at Rio Grande City: Ralph Cantu’s squad makes a long trip to a struggling Lady Rattler team.

Donna at Sharyland: The Lady Rattlers are the district’s favorites due to their talented and veteran team.

La Joya at San Benito: The Lady Coyotes have a real chance to make some noise in the district as they have already given Sharyland some fits and guards Elva Hinojosa and Carla Trevino make an outstanding duo. Tonight’s non-district matchup will help La Joya prepare to resume district play next Tuesday against rival Palmview.

Brownsville Veterans Memorial at Juarez-Lincoln: Tonight’s game could be a needed win for the Huskies, who are trying to repeat a postseason appearance.

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