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PALMVIEW -- Two weeks ago the Palmview Lobos were at unprecedented heights for their boys basketball program. Due to a solid non-district record which was then followed by a 2-0 start in District 30-5A play, head coach Andy Saenz’s team rose as high as number two in the Valley Freedom Poll.

However, the team then faced Sharyland and Nikki Rowe—two of the district’s best—losing to the traditional powerhouses. Despite the quick fall back to .500, the Lobos responded with a dominating win over Donna last Friday and now have a chance to prove their ability to compete with the big boys by taking on McHi in tonight’s “Big Six” Game of the Night.

“They are playing their best ball right now,” says Saenz of the Bulldogs. “We have our work cut out for us.”

McHi is coming off a thorough dismantling of Palmview’s rival La Joya last Friday. McHi handed the Coyotes a 75-40 loss, led by Jordan Masso’s 19 points. Also contributing were James Kittleman and his 14, Eli Hernandez and his 12, as well as Eric Silva and his 10.

“[McHi is] a very established school and has a very good basketball tradition,” Saenz says. “We respect what they have done in the past and they are coming along this year. We definitely have to be wary of what they are doing.”

In their two losses against the Rattlers and the Warriors, Saenz says his teams experienced playoff type atmospheres. In addition, the second-year coach says his team’s biggest handicap is in the head, not in its athletic ability or anything physically.

“I always tell my kids they look great physically but the mental aspect is the biggest part that they struggle with. We are still a good team. I haven’t lost my confidence in them. They are hard workers and are going to bounce back and not back down from anyone.”

A win would be huge for Palmview’s confidence as well as their playoff hopes. With Nikki Rowe, Sharyland and McHi all vying for the top spot, the Lobos are tied with Memorial for the fourth and final spot. A win tonight would make that fourth spot a three-way tie and then prepare for a showdown with Memorial on Friday.

Other Games-Boys

Mission at Nikki Rowe: The Eagles’ first district win is not likely to come tonight. The Warriors won’t mess around after losing to Memorial last Friday.

Veterans Memorial at Hidalgo: This is a big week for the Patriots. If they can win tonight against Hidalgo and then on Friday against Juarez-Lincoln—two very difficult teams—then their playoff positioning will begin to brighten up. However, the Pirates are no push over as the district’s second placed team. Patriot coach Rome De La Garza promises to have his team ready.

La Joya at Sharyland: The Coyotes are getting farther and farther away from playoff contention and are in badly need of a win.

Weslaco East at Juarez-Lincoln: The Huskies beat the Wildcats in their own gym but a home date tonight won’t be much easier. If Juarez does not bring its game, there is a real chance they could lose both their games this week.

Other Games-Girls

Mission at Nikki Rowe: The Lady Eagles have lost two straight and tonight’s visit to Rowe will be tough.

Veterans Memorial at Hidalgo: This is it. If the Lady Patriots want at least a share of the district title they have to take down Hidalgo. The girls have been playing well as of late but tonight presents a stiff challenge.

La Joya at Sharyland: The Rattlers need a win to stay at least tied for first in district. Meanwhile, the Coyotes are wanting to distance themselves from Mission, who is just a game behind.

Weslaco East at Juarez-Lincoln: The Lady Huskies are coming off a nice win over Rio Grande City last Friday. Can the momentum push them to another win?

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