It’s been good times at North recently with both teams on a hardwood roll. The girls (2-0 in district, 14-10 overall) had an easy time of it Tuesday, beating Southwest by 40 as Katelyn Trevino led the way with 14 points. The Boys had won eight of nine heading into Friday’s league opener. Both North teams went through some growing pains in non-district but appear to be starting the league run with momentum.
Coach Jenny Rae Garcia has a formidable bunch of hustlers on defense and has seen the offense score 58 and 61 points the first two 31-6A nights. For years this has been the Lady Coog trend to watch: if they can make some shots – as they did against Vela – they can beat anyone, because the D will generally be strong.
The Lady Coogs were to play Pharr North at home Friday before the mandatory 5-day grace period began. They will tackle Econ Jan. 2 and EHS three days later, getting into the first vital stretch of the slate. It is not known whether senior Tilly Villarreal, injured in the victory against Vela, would be available. She has shown real veteran maturity and leadership so far, and her absence would be a debit for the club, to say the least.
Starting the district season Friday, North had won eight of nine games and tucked away a tournament title at McAllen. The Coogs came into the game against Pharr North at 13-9 overall, with a road game set for at Econ Jan. 2 and a home tilt versus EHS Jan. 5.
Balance has been a plus so far as the Coogs have the best depth of the four city teams. Felix Aleman continues to lead in scoring at 12.7 ppg (58 threes) while Izaiah Rangel (10.5, 6.9 rpg, 76 percent at the line) has been excellent to start his sophomore season. City of Palms Tourney MVP Abraham Nunez has pushed his average to 10.8 with 5.5 boards, and sank 20 points as the Coogs defeated La Joya in overtime Tuesday.
An overlooked part of the puzzle so far has been junior St. Joseph alum Juan Vazquez (8/5/5.9) who plays bigger than his 5-10 height and has been productive inside at times, also showing a 41 percent stroke from downtown. Point guard Demetri Pardo came up big in the Palms final with a 15-point effort against Pace, giving North a quick-footed presence out front.
Next week will be huge in the district as the Jags (13-9) look to get some momentum going against North Jan. 2, after a slightly middling non-district slate. Edinburg, meanwhile, has been one of the hottest teams in the Valley the past three weeks, winning at the Tri-Cities Tourney and continuing the streak Tuesday with a 19-point win over Palmview.
Vela was up and down to end non-district, beating Rowe but then getting hammered at Los Fresnos Tuesday. The SaberCats drew P-SJ-A Southwest to start league play, and would follow that up with P-SJ-A Memorial (Jan. 2 on the road) and Pharr North Jan. 5 (at home) to prepare for the city gauntlet to come.