Elva Hinojosa and her coach, Dan Morales, are sick of coming so close, just to fall short. If you have followed the Lady Coyotes of La Joya the past couple years, you may recall the program has neither been a powerhouse nor a laughing stock in District 30-5A. In fact, for the past three seasons, Morales’ team has finished district in the fifth spot, left to look through the glass as the district’s top four teams enjoyed the postseason.
This year could be different. Morales’s is in his final year with Hinojosa, his star point guard and an All-Valley and All-District performer from a year ago. Hinojosa has helped her team reach a solid overall record of 13-7, contributing by scoring and distributing the ball. Two games ago, in a close 67-64 loss to Sharyland, the senior guard dropped 34 points. On the other hand she can distribute the ball, averaging about six assists per game.
Of course it helps to have strong shooters and smart players to deliver the rock to. Four different La Joya players have led the team in scoring: sophomore Karla Trevino and seniors Belinda Gujardo, Leyva Platas and Valerie Salinas. In addition, Tevino, Platas and Gujardo have led the team in scoring more than once. Overall the team averages close to 70 points-per-game and actually scored 105 against Edcouch-Elsa a couple weeks ago.
Despite these positives, La Joya is 1-2 in district. Though coming off a strong victory over Donna a week ago, the Lady Coyotes began their district schedule off with two straight losses, first versus Sharyland and then against Nikki Rowe. Tonight the team takes on rival Palmview. The Lobos are struggling, yet to win a district game. Versus McHi, the Lobos lost 80-28. However, junior Gabriela Rodriguez and Issel Sosa are both talented juniors who have the experience to lead their team to a rivalry victory.
In La Joya’s point of view, a struggling Palmview team is just what they need to continue to acquire momentum to help them compete and win against the district’s top teams. Because they are sick of just coming close.
Big Six Lineup: Boys
Memorial at Mission: The Eagles’ road to building their boys basketball program into relevancy isn’t going to be easy. First year coach Everrett Castallano has had a tough year so far, including Friday’s district-opening loss to Palmview. It only gets harder as the Memorial Mustangs come to Mission. Memorial will be looking to rebound after a loss to McHi. Peter Arizpe
Veterans Memorial at Rio Grande City: The Patriots endured a tough one-point loss to Roma on Saturday, moving them to 3-2 in district play. Tonight's game in Rio Grande City will be an opportunity to rebound as the Rattlers have struggled all season long.
Donna at Sharyland: The past couple of years has seen a Rattler program capable of beating the district’s weak teams but unable to take down the likes of Nikki Rowe, Memorial and McHi. Last Friday saw the Rattlers again fall to Rowe in a close 57-54 decision. The loss was unfortunate because of the talent possessed by David Keith’s squad and the hard work put in by the players in the offseason. Tonight the team takes on Donna, not exactly a powerhouse. However, Sharyland is capable of being the top in the district and being able to put away weaker teams with ease is important for a championship seeking team.
Palmview at La Joya: The Lobos are the district’s surprise team but head coach Andy Saenz feels his team has a ways to go for real improvement, despite the dismantling his team did of Mission last Friday. Tonight’s rivalry matchup will be a tough road test for Saenz’s players, such as Mario De La Garza. La Joya, themselves, are coming off a big road win over Donna and also have confidence. It is hard to judge which way this game will go.
Juarez-Lincoln at Mercedes: The Huskies are a playoff contending team and are off to a solid 3-2 district start, including a big win against Hidalgo before Christmas break. Considering the Pirates were a district favorite, the win was huge for Juarez. After a breeze of a win over the Veterans Memorial of Brownsville, tonight’s trip to Mercedes will be a huge test. If they can get a win, a playoff spot will become more and more of a possibility.
Big Six Lineup: Girls
Memorial at Mission: The Eagles have had a solid start to district (2-1) with wins over Palmview and Donna. The only loss came to a good Nikki Rowe team. Tonight the Lady Eagles face a Lady Mustangs team coming off a horrific loss to McHi last Friday, 80-26. The Eagles could really use a win over last year’s district co-champs to further boost the team’s confidence.
Veterans Memorial at Rio Grande City: The Lady Patriots got a great win Saturday over previously undefeated Roma. Their lone district loss so far came against Hidalgo and an eventual rematch comes Jan. 17. However, road trips such as tonight’s visit to Rio Grande City, could be trap games for the Patriots. Briana Casa and Kassi Lopez will be counted on to keep the team focused.
Donna at Sharyland: The Lady Rattlers are a surprising 1-2 in district, only beating La Joya on opening night of district play. Since losing to Nikki Rowe after giving up a fourth quarter lead, Sharyland played in Koko’s Holiday Classic. Now they are ready to resume district play and welcome a struggling Donna team to town. A win is a must.
Juarez-Lincoln at Mercedes: Tough road game for the struggling Lady Huskies.
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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.