Tuesday evening, Robert Vela High School hosted a District 31-5A matchup between the 9-2 Lady Vela Lady Sabercats and the 5-6 Sharyland Lady Rattlers. The Sabercats got off to a quick start against the Rattlers. A near 30-point first quarter would put the Rattlers in a hole that would take a lot to get out of. The Sabercats used their speed and passing ability to create space for their players to either drive to the basket, pull up for a mid-range shot, or find a shooter open along the three point line. The Rattlers were slow to find their stride in this game but they looked good doing it when they did.
Sharyland clawed their way back into the game at the beginning of the second half but the Sabercats would extend their lead to the point where any last ditch effort would fail to come into fruition. Both teams fought hard till the very end and even though the Rattlers would ultimately fall to the Sabercats by a score of 21-69, the Rattlers went out in a positive effort.
With this loss, the Rattlers have fallen to 7th place in District 31-5A with a 5-7 record. Rattlers’ sophomore forward Grace Shahin finished with eight points, six rebounds, one steal, and one block. Junior guard Mariajose Campos finished with three points, four rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Junior forward Alexis Chapa finished with six points while forward Samantha Sanchez finished with three points, nine rebounds, and one steal.
Progress Times spoke to Rattlers’ head coach Monica Meza about the game on Tuesday. We asked about where her team is at this point of the season. She told us, “We have three injuries right now and unfortunately two of those injuries are senior starters so our younger kids are having to step up without having that experience. There’s a learning curve to it. The growth is taking some time and those injuries aren’t helping but they’re learning something every day.”
“It was a tough game for us,” Meza added. “It was a tough matchup against a tough team but we’ll go back to review the film to see what we can do individually and as a team. We’re going to piece it together little by little. There were some good things that came out of this game but like with anything else, but like anything else, we’re going to go back, review, learn from it, and get better. Whether it’s a win or a loss, we gotta keep moving forward.”
Due to injuries, this Rattlers team is being forced to give playing time to their younger girls. Only one of the ten players that received time in this game is a senior. The experience that the underclassmen will gain from playing against a talented Sabercats team should pay dividends to their squad next season. Meza spoke about this year’s team as this season gets ready to wind down.
“I think we’ve come a long way from the beginning of the year. Last year we graduated six seniors so we started the year with four returners. I think the most exciting thing about this group is that my team is coming back next year. We’re filled with juniors, sophomores, and a freshman so it’s been pretty fun to see them grow. Have we had some frustrating moments this year? Absolutely, but I want to see where they are at the end of this season to the beginning of next season. We have a lot of potential that we haven’t tapped into, so just knowing that we’re going to be returning nine is pretty exciting.”
One of returners will be junior guard Mariajose Campos, who notably took the most shots for the Rattlers in this game. We asked Coach Meza if Campos will be one of those main pieces for the team moving forward in which she replied: “She is. She will be. She played with us a bit towards the end of the year so she has some varsity experience but not a ton. She’s a tough one. Her speed and ball handling ability has really helped us on the court. I’m excited to see where she’s at from this year to next.”
There’s a lot to like about this Rattlers team. A lot of their game can be patched up by gaining experience together on the court. Once this team really gets the hang of playing together, there’s no doubt that we’re going to see more tallies in the win column. Their next game will be up against the McAllen Memorial Mustangs in McAllen tonight at 6 pm. Progress Times and Big 7 Sports wish the best of luck to the Lady Rattlers tonight!