Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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Mission Veterans hoopsters sweep Sharyland

20180102 Basketball VMHS vs SHS Boys LG-25The Mission Veterans Patriots and Lady Patriots basketball teams swept the Sharyland Rattlers and Lady Rattlers Tuesday in District 31-5A action. The boys’ game was played at Sharyland High at 3 pm while the girls’ game was played at Mission Veterans at 5:30. By not having the boys and girls play their games simultaneously, as is usually the case on Tuesday and Friday evening games, fans of both schools had the opportunity of attending both games, which many did.  


As it turned out, the Mission Veterans fans had more to cheer about than the Sharyland fans did, but with both games being highly competitive, everyone in attendance was treated to some of the best high school basketball action in the Rio Grande Valley.

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Big 7 volleyball players receive honors

20170818 Volleyball SPHS vs LJHS LG-10Thirty one Big 7 schools’ volleyball players received post-season honors by being named to All-district and/or All-area teams. Nineteen of those honored coming from the three District 31-5A teams, Mission Veterans, Sharyland High and Sharyland Pioneer, and 12 coming from the four District 30-6A teams, Mission High, La Joya High, Palmview and Juarez-Lincoln, that make up the Big 7.


The Mission Veterans Lady Patriots led the way among these seven teams with eight players named while the Sharyland Lady Rattlers had six and the Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks had five. Of the 30-6A teams, the Mission Lady Eagles led the way with four players named, while the La Joya Lady Coyotes and the Juarez-Lincoln Lady Huskies each had three players named and the Palmview Lady Lobos had two.


The Lady Patriots also led the way among Big 7 teams with the most players receiving either a Most Valuable Player or an Outstanding Position Player award, with three, and All-Area recognition, with two. The only other Big 7 teams with players that received either of these were the Lady Diamondbacks, the Lady Rattlers and the Lady Eagles.

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Diamondbacks experiencing growing pains

20171212 Basketball LNHS vs SPHS Boys LG-24The Pioneer Diamondbacks boys’ basketball team’s youth and inexperience was on display Tuesday evening when they fell by a score of 47-68 to the Laredo Nixon Mustangs in their District 31-5A opener.


Coming off a 2016-2017 season in which they lost nine players to graduation, Diamondbacks’ head coach Rene Gonzalez has two freshmen, two sophomores and one senior as his starting five. That youth and inexperience is something that the Mustangs exploited Tuesday as they jumped out to an early lead and never looked back en-route to their 21-point victory.


While the Diamondbacks hung close to the Mustangs through the first half, they never actually led in the game. The Mustangs jumped out to a 6-0 lead shortly after the tip-off and extended that lead to nine points at the end of the first quarter when they led by the score of 19-10. With 4:35 remaining in the first half, the Diamondbacks pulled to within three points of the Mustangs, 17-20, but the Mustangs bounced back to extend their lead to 11 at the half when they led by the score of 33-22.

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Home-grown professional soccer player returns to valley

20171215 soccer-playerA homegrown professional soccer player returns to the area next week for two days of soccer clinics.


Mikey Lopez remembers growing up in Alton. As a young boy, playing soccer on any type of field – from blacktop, to rock and dirt to wonderfully laid down soft grass – he always kept a dream alive to play professional soccer.


In 2013, that dream became a reality as Lopez was drafted in the first round – the 14th pick overall – by Kansas City in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Super Draft. Since then he has played for Orlando City, Oklahoma City and most recently with New York City FC.

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District 31-5A basketball Lady Patriots, Rattlers and Diamondbacks looking to bounce back

20171208 Shary girls basketballAs the Mission Veterans Lady Patriots, the Sharyland Lady Rattlers and the Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks basketball teams open district play this week, the fact that they were all left on the outside-looking-in during last season’s playoffs is still fresh on their minds. While the Lady Diamondbacks have yet to make the playoffs during their first three years of existence, the Lady Patriots and the Lady Rattlers have both been perennial playoff qualifiers for pretty much as long as most of the players on their rosters have been in existence.


Whether or not the Lady Patriots and the Lady Rattlers have ever both missed out on the playoffs in the same season is not clear, but it certainly hasn’t happened since they became District 31-5A rivals in 2014. So what went wrong last season? One look at the 2016-2017 district standings pretty much answers that question. The three Laredo teams, Cigarroa, Martin and Nixon, that were moved into 31-5A last season occupied the top three spots in the standings leaving only one playoff spot available for the remaining six teams in the district.


Will history repeat itself this season? Not if the Lady Patriots, the Lady Rattlers and the Lady Diamondbacks have anything to say about it. With that in mind, let’s look at these three Big 7 teams from each of their coach’s perspective.

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District 31-5A boys’ basketball back to ballin’

Pioneer-boys-basketball-2017-18Teams around the Valley are back to balling and hitting the hardwood with tournaments and non-district action, gearing up for the start of district play in less than two weeks. Here’s a look at the Big 7 Teams on the boys’ side of 31-5A.


Pioneer Diamondbacks
Pioneer was the only Big 7 team in 31-5A to qualify for the postseason a year ago. That Diamondback team was led by nine seniors who are now gone, and with only two returning lettermen, Head Coach Rene Gonzalez is hopeful his youthful group can come together to put Pioneer in the playoff picture once again.


“We’re taking a little different approach because we don’t have too much experience,” Gonzalez said. “They’ve responded really well in practice. They listen, they pay attention, they’re always asking questions and they’re eager to learn, and that’s one thing that’s good about this team this year. They know what they want to do this year.”

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