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MISSION -- Though the Lady Patriots of Veterans Memorial incurred a surprise loss to Roma on a last second 3-point banking buzzer beater, it was the loss that the men's team endured which hurts the most, losing 47-29.
In the beginning, the Patriots matched well with the district leaders (12-1 in 32-4A play), going point for point the first couple of minutes. However, six straight points by the Gladiators--including a four-point play--gave the visiting team all the momentum when the first quarter ended.
The second quarter would get ugly for the red, white and blue. Though the squad switched its defense from a man to a 1-3-1, Roma found ways to score on their way to a 7-2 run to start the quarter.
Veterans tried to run set plays to set up the three ball but none of the shots would go in. Finally, with just less than two minutes remaining, head coach Romeo De La Garza opted to hold the ball for the final two minutes to keep the deficit close and allow for a momentum gaining last second shot to fall. Unfortunately, two shots in the last seconds fell short and the Patriots went into the half down 21-10.
In the third Veterans would pick up its tempo. Behind crisp passing and unselfish play, the Patriots were able to get two threes from Joshua Villarreal. The guard gave some life to his team offensively as they scored fourteen in the quarter. However, Roma picked up their game as well and kept their lead a safe distance at 38-24.
Though De La Garza's team continued to play hard until the end, Roma was too efficient on offense, hitting tough shots and scoring consistently with players hitting slashers to the basket.
The loss puts Veterans in a tough spot. Currently in the fourth spot, the Patriots are competing with Hidalgo for the final playoff position. With four more games left, VMHS faces Rio Grande City, Weslaco East, Brownsivlle Veterans Memorial and Edcouch-Elsa. Friday's game with RGC will be a tough road test.
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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.