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LA JOYA -- A sloppy second quarter doomed the La Joya Coyotes and gave the basketball squad its first district loss after losing to McAllen Memorial, 69-52 Tuesday night in at La Joya High School.
The Coyotes (12-8, 2-1) started the first quarter slow, allowing the Mustangs (13-8, 3-0) to take a quick 7-2 lead. La Joya would respond when Ricky Castillo hit a three that would start an 11-2 Coyote run that was spurred by cold outside shooting by Memorial.
Down 13-9, the Mustangs would storm back to take the lead and never look back. Point guard Juan "Papito" Gonzalez scored five straight at the end of the first to give his team a 14-13 lead.
The momentum continued on the side of the visitors when La Joya was called for an offensive foul with their first possession in the second quarter. When the Coyote's continued to turn the ball over through bad passes, Gonzalez would punish them with a three.·
The third quarter saw another Memorial player step up to hurt the Coyotes. This time it was Joel Reyna who constantly was fighting for offensive rebounds and getting open on fast breaks. The lengthy player ended as the game's leading scorer with 28 points.
Not all was lost for La Joya, however. Rick Cantu's squad put a spirited effort in attempting to come back. With five minutes left in the third, the Coyotes instituted a full court press that frustrated the Mustangs. Capitalizing on the frustration and behind the strong inside play of Joel Ordaz, La Joya cut the Memorial lead down to 11 to start the fourth quarter.·
The full court press paid a price when the fouls began to pick up and Memorial went to the bonus. Taking advantage of the free points, in the fourth, Memorial began again to push its lead. Offensively, La Joya was not able to convert on open shots or take advantage of forced turnovers.·
With just over three minutes remaining, La Joya got some sparks that gave life. Point guard Eric De la Rosa got a key steal that he took the other way, laying in a left handed layup before being fouled. De la Rosa would hit the extra point, cutting the opponent's lead to 53-43 and giving hope to the Coyote fans in the stands.·
A minute later La Joya would finally cut the lead to less then ten when Castillo hit a three to bring the score to 48-57. However, the red and white didn't get back after the make, letting the Bobcats score easily on a fast break. After that, the momentum was lost and La Joya would not be able to get any closer.·
Ricky Salinas led the Coyotes in points with 16.
La Joya will look to rebound when the play at Mission on Tuesday.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.