Lady Lobos are for real
Some may have wondered if the Palmview Lady Lobos were for real last year. That’s because after having failed to put together a winning season for the first six years of their existence, the Lady Lobos pulled off a dramatic turnaround last year in which they went 9-3 (20-11 overall), finished second place in District 30-6A and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in school history.
While a 51-41 bi-district round loss to Del Rio brought their breakout season to a quick and sudden end, there’s no denying the fact that the Lady Lobos put together a very successful 2014/2015 season.
What accounted for such a dramatic turnaround? Palmview girls basketball coach Anisa Reyna credits the play and leadership of two of her players as the catalyst for the Lady Lobos’ success.
“I believe our success had to do with us grasping the concept of running the floor, being in shape and showing some endurance,” explained Reyna. “But also we had the help of a graduating senior, Monica Noyola, and a junior, Samantha Gutierrez, who came through for us offensively and who displayed the kind of leadership we were needing. Everyone followed their leadership and it just progressed into something very special last year in which we built a legacy that nobody really expected but we knew we could accomplish.”
Gutierrez, who as the district’s top scorer last year was named the Offensive Player of the Year in District 30-6A, has returned for her senior year and is expected to help lead the Lady Lobos to another successful season.
“Samantha kind of exploded last year with her quality of play and her inside, outside game,” added Reyna. “At only 5-foot-3, she is by no means tall, but yet her game brings so much to the table that she has added another dimension to our game offensively.”
Like Gutierrez, 5-foot-4 sophomore point guard Brittany Cano, 6-foot sophomore post Cyndar Magallon and 5-foot 10 junior post Edna Ovalle are also returning starters.
“These girls present a lot of different dynamics as far as being dominant forces in the paint and with their ability to block shots and rebound,” shared Reyna. “So we do have the height inside to counter any other offensive players.”
So far this season the Lady Lobos have put together a 10-4 record with their most recent victory coming Tuesday against the Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks. In that game Palmview scored 15 unanswered points to open the third quarter and go on to double-up the Lady Diamondbacks by a score of 64-32.
With district play starting Tuesday, Reyna is hoping to see her team get off on the right foot.
“After this week I hope that we’ll show improvement and that we’ll take strides in the right direction,” Reyna said. “Our district opener is next week and it is a very huge game for us. That’s something that we’ve stressed and emphasized to our kids; that the first game sets the tone for the rest of the season. So we’re hoping to make a mark again and see where our program can go with this team.”
While the Lady Lobos will not have the element of surprise on their side this year like they had last year, their size, talent and experience should be enough to help them secure their second playoff berth in as many years.
“There’s a lot of potential in this team that was left behind from last year and I think that now it’s just a matter of getting back to where we ended the season last year,” added Reyna. “It’s going to be exciting to watch what happens this year in 30-6A because anything is possible.”