EHS IN FIRST EARLY ON, WITH WESLACO; TWO WILL SQUARE OFF JAN. 4 IN MID-VALLEY

It’s begun with opening notes that make sense to the prognosticators, as EHS is off to a 2-0 start and Vela is right behind at 2-1, North and Econ trailing at 0-3. The girls’ basketball race was supposed to be between Weslaco and the Lady Bobcats and so far, looking correct, as EHS has won twice, most recently with a thundering demolition of North (69-20 Tuesday). Vela, picked third by consensus, has taken two of three, losing to the Pantherettes by 18 in its last outing.

Vela had previously obliterated Econ by hitting a team-record 13 three-pointers, five by terrific freshman Lauren Vega, who continues to perform as one of the top newcomers in the Valley. Senior Kay Rios and sophomore Andrea Molina each knocked in four bombs against the Lady Jags, who played decently against Donna North Tuesday, losing by 9. When Lottie Zarate’s unit is on from the perimeter it is a contender for a title; when not, a lack of size and scoring punch beyond those three guards can be challenges.

The best news for EHS right now, besides a 19-7 overall record, is the return of last year’s fine frosh. Injured for most of the season, A’nnika Saenz had 13 points against North, shooting six of eight from the field, and if she can continue to work her way back, she gives the club a very talented, creative player.

The Lady ‘Cats were up 24 at the half in a walk over North, and prepared then for a tough non-district game Friday against Hidalgo, one of the top lower-classification schools in the area. At the end of the month – and year, by the way – EHS will host Econ and North will travel to Weslaco East hoping to get off the ziggy after a slow 31-6A start.

For EHS, Daysha Tijerina has started the league slog with a whopping 9 threes in two victories, which is impressive; her percentage from deep those two matches: 53 percent, which is even more striking. With all wounded hands now on deck, J.D. Salinas’ team gains steam for the most vital early league stretch, Jan. 4 at Weslaco and Jan. 8 at home to Vela.

In the interim before 2019 arrives, Econ will Hanna at home and then try and deal with the Lady ‘Cats on the road.

The main issue for the Lady Coogs so far has been a sputtering offense that averaged just 39 ppg in non-district play. The defense will get after you and the team has decent depth, but against some powerful attacks in district, North has to make more shots to stay in games and give the D a chance to work its magic. The average is just 35.3 ppg in three league tries, so look for aggressive junior Miranda Gaytan to try and pick up some of the scoring slack in the weeks to come; she is very capable of doing so.

The Lady Jags, despite an influx of new talent, have not broken through yet in district and for a young team confidence is very important. It comes from taking some W’s, and Econ missed a chance against Donna North, though the Lady Chiefs are way better than people thought they would be.