Tuesday afternoon showcased a District 30-5A matchup between two Big 7 lady basketball teams. The 1-2 Veterans Memorial Lady Patriots went on the road to face up against the 3-0 Palmview Lady Lobos. The Lobos set up in the full court trap defense against the Patriots. This trap for the Lobos was designed to force the ball out of the hands of the Patriots best ball handlers. On offense, the Lobos were making it look easy as they found their shooters open in a corner or their slashers cutting to the basket. The Lobos got off to a 28-10 lead by the end of the first half with the help of this trap and playing a disciplined style of basketball.
The Patriots were getting a lot more than they could handle with the trap defense in the second half. The turnovers were coming in bunches for them while the Lobos took advantage of the mental errors. If the Patriots wanted any part of this game, they were going to have to do what had been working for them early on: getting the ball near the basket. Their size advantage down low enabled the Patriots to get within 15 points, but when it came down to it, the Lobos were able to get more done on the offensive and defensive end than the Patriots could.
The Lobos lead doubled from 15 to 30 points in a matter of minutes. The Lobos continued to play the game as if they were the ones down big in the fourth quarter. This spectacular display of basketball in all facets of the court from the Lobos earned them the win over the Patriots with a score of 60-20. As a result, the Patriots fall to 1-3, while the Lobos remained undefeated in District 30-5A with a 4-0 record.
The Lobos finished last season outside of the top four in their district which meant no playoff berth for Coach Anisa Reyna’s squad. This year, they’ve been able to get themselves off to a good start in their district. They’ve been able to turn around their game and have put themselves in first place in District 30-5A. The Nixon Mustangs and the Roma Gladiators trail them with 3-1 records.
Progress Times spoke to Reyna about the turnaround for her team this year. Reyna stated, “The emphasis throughout the offseason was skills and speed. Every single day we get out here and try to get better. Skills and speed are the two things that were notched at the top of our list. Defensively is where we’ve been the most consistent. That’s something that we’ve drilled into our girls’ heads and something that we have to push more effort on because it keeps us in our games. Being able to defend and run a full court press for four quarters is huge on our part.”
I asked Reyna if this defensive scheme is something that is essential to compete in this district and what goals and expectations she had for her team moving forward, “It’s a must, we have to play full court and half court but obviously change up our defense and execute. One thing that gets us over the top is our defense. We have huge expectations; we’ve put in a lot of time with spring and summer ball. We’ve learned a lot since last year and we want to get as far as we can go. The sky’s the limit.”
After speaking to Reyna, we caught up with senior guard Jocelyn Rojas and asked her about this win, “This win puts us at 4-0 and that’s a really good start for us. I think this win shows a lot about how much we’ve improved and how together we are as a team. It’s just a boost in our confidence. We expect a lot. We want to go 7-0 in the first round and the same in the second round. We want to make it as far as we can. We want that district championship.”
Rojas finished the game with nine points, four rebounds, three assists, including a beautiful bounce pass in between a couple of Patriots defenders that led to a basket, and six steals. Lobos’ junior forward Mia Rojas notched in 12 points, one rebound, one assist, four steals, and three blocks and lead scorer junior guard Nicole Flores finished with 18 points, four rebounds, five assists, and five steals.
The Lady Patriots will be at home in their next game as they’re going up against the 3-1 Nixon Mustangs today in a District 30-5A IV matchup. The Lady Lobos are set to travel to the home of the 3-1 Roma Gladiators on Jan. 5th in another District 30-5A matchup. The Lady Lobos will be having Lobo Legacy Night on Jan. 9th to recognize and honor three past and current female players who achieved milestone 1,000 career points for the program within Reyna’s tenure.