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Young Lady Eagles remain in playoff hunt

With four freshmen and two sophomores on their varsity roster, the Mission Lady Eagles basketball team is in the midst of a youth movement. A movement that bodes well for the future of the team, but a movement which is making wins on their record this year challenging.

The most recent example of this took place Tuesday evening. The Lady Eagles led the Juarez-Lincoln Lady Huskies at halftime and were tied at the end of the third period, but were outscored 17-10 in the fourth period to fall by a final score of 50-43.

20150120 Basketball Girls JLHS vs MHS lg-34In her 27th year of coaching and her third at Mission, Rachel Carmona is optimistic about the team’s future. But the desire to win now makes losses like this one extremely frustrating.

“We’re young and that makes it pretty exciting when it comes to building our program,” said Carmona. “We have a great group of kids that are working hard every day and gaining experience, but as was the case tonight we are playing in spurts. The momentum changes and substitutions we had to deal with tonight, and we’ve been dealing with all season long, can be attributed to our youth and inexperience. But it’s a good group of kids to have and to work with as we continue in the second round of the season.”

With an overall record of 460 wins against only 178 losses during her 24 years at Edinburg and Hidalgo High Schools, Carmona assumed the head coaching position at Mission High two years ago with an extremely successful track record. Her ability to build successful programs in the past has her believing that despite her squad’s current 2-5 district record, the Lady Eagles are on the right path.

“I think it’s going well,” Carmona said. “I think that the biggest change is going from 4A to 6A as we did this year. Also, the fact that we’ve had injuries to some of our key players along the way has hurt us as well. Overall, however, I believe that we are on the right path and we just have to take one game at a time.”

Junior point guard/shooting guard Emberly Garza is one of the Lady Eagles leaders on and off the court. Like her coach, Garza sees the Lady Eagles’ youth movement as an indicator of a bright future.

“Having more freshmen on our roster than seniors actually helps us because we can have experience for next season,” said Garza. “When our seniors leave they will not only have a year’s worth of experience but they will know how Coach Carmona wants it and how we play. I honestly think it’s great to have more freshmen than seniors because next season we will be ready.”

The Juarez-Lincoln game was the first in the second round for Mission. Having suffered losses to the same Lady Huskies, McAllen Memorial, Palmview and Nikki Rowe in the first round while emerging victorious against only McAllen High and La Joya, will make a playoff run unlikely for the Lady Eagles. However, Garza is not ready to give up on her season-long goal of helping lead the Lady Eagles into post-season play.

“Everything is still up for grabs this season,” said Garza. “As a result of our slow start we’re just going to have to have to push harder to get a playoff spot. Most of the players on this team have never been to the playoffs so we would love to do that this year.”

Tonight, Mission will be traveling to McAllen Memorial to play the Lady Mustangs. The Lady Eagles will then travel to McAllen High Tuesday. Mission’s next home game will be Friday, Jan. 30 against Palmview. All games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. as part of girls/boys doubleheaders with the Eagles games scheduled to start at 7:30 each night.

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