Palmview routs Sharyland High in season opener
The La Joya Palmview Lobos defeated the Sharyland Rattlers Tuesday night, 73-42, in the inaugural game of the 2023-2024 basketball season. The Lobos put on a show in front of their home crowd, raining threes the entire game and suffocating the Rattlers with aggressive and timely defense. Although it was only the season’s first game and a non-district one, the Lobos and Rattlers used the outing as barometers for their respective performances.
The Sharyland Rattlers finished 22-23 as the 6th best team in District 31 5A behind perennial powers Edinburg Vela, McAllen Memorial, Sharyland Pioneer, and McAllen Nikki Rowe. The Rattlers were competitive but finished with an overall record of 10-19. The Rattlers’ goals are more significant this year, and their first-half defensive intensity against the Lobos proved it.
After falling behind 10-0 to start the first quarter, the Rattlers stormed back to take a two-point lead thanks to a relentless 3-2 trapping zone and high activity from defensive stall-warts Romario De La Garza and Diego Lara that led to easy fastbreak points.
“We were amped up defensively. Everyone was talking; the bench was talking. We were able to force them into tough shots. We just tried to contain them. And we did, for the most part,” Head Coach Danny Moran said.
While the Rattlers’ ball-side pressure was tremendous, the Lobos’ offensive adjustments were too much to overcome despite their first-half turnovers. After Sharyland took the lead, the Lobos went on a 22-1 run that buried the Rattlers and essentially took them out of the game. Extra passes to the weak side off high screen action exposed the overaggressive Sharyland backcourt and created easy open shots for the Lobos’ guards.
“We know they had three great players in Joe, Adrian and Damian… but you give them any space and theyr’e gonna pop off,” Moran said.
The early season test against one of the valley’s more talented teams was an excellent assessment for the Rattlers without their best player, Androniko Suelto. Suelto was missed by an offense that struggled with half-court sets and finding easy shots.
“Once Niko’s back, our offense will just flow way better and we will be able to score. Our defense is there already. We’ll just get more points on the board, and we’ll be winning. We’re gonna go watch film, get in the gym, figure out what we did wrong and bounce back,” said Sharyland Power forward Ryan Salinas
The Palmview Lobos:
The Palmview Lobos put on a clinic in their first home game of the season in front of a humble crowd eager to see the newest version of Lobo basketball. On a night where they could’ve slowed down and taken their foot off the brakes, the Lobos never stopped pushing the pace.
“We were doing good in the beginning but came up short. We were supposed to win by 40 plus, but at least we got the win at the end of the day,” Palmview Point Guard Joe Gonzalez said
The Lobos trio of Gonzalez, Damian Anaya, and Albert Suarez combined to score 49 of the Lobos’ 73 total points. They attacked Sharyland’s inability to contain left-handed drives and exposed the Rattlers’ late weak side help off pick and roll traps and low post triple teams. Juan Domniguez’s pressure on the offensive boards and clever decision-making inside the teeth of the Rattlers’ zone helped stem the tide and stop an early Rattlers’ run. Gonzalez’s ability to create off the dribble opened up clear driving lanes as the Rattlers quit collapsing the paint because of his and Dominguez’s offensive dominance. The Rattlers had no answer for the firepower the Lobos threw at them.
The Lobos finished 22-23 as the third best team in District 30-5a behind Laredo Nixon and Laredo Martin, two of the best basketball teams in South Texas. The Lobos made the playoffs after compiling a 26-12 record but lost to Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial in the Bi-district round. With returning all-valley performer Gonzalez leading the way this year, the Lobos are looking for more.
“We think our guard play is pretty good. We’re going to try to develop some of our bigs to be key pieces in our starting five, and we’re actually trying to get a district title. That hasn’t been done here, but that’s our goal for this year,” Palmview Head Coach Albert Carillo said.
The Rattlers will be opening District 31-5A play at home against Edinburg Vela on Tuesday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. The Lobos will be opening their District 30-5A schedule at Laredo Nixon on Friday, December 29 at 3:30 p.m.