By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
January 29, 2015
The Port Isabel Tarpons fell at home to the Raymondville Bearkats, 48-33, on Tuesday night.
Port Isabel led briefly early in the second quarter and fought hard to get back in it during the third after trailing by eight, 22-14, at the half. They came within six, 23-29, by the end of the third quarter, but that was as close as they got and the Bearkats held double-digit leads for most of the final period. Their largest lead of 15, on a field goal in the final minute, was the final margin of victory.
“We struggled to score from the very start,” head Tarpon coach Nathan Janak said Wednesday morning. “We had a great plan. We were getting great looks … the ball wouldn’t go in the basket.”
That was an understatement in the first quarter, for both teams. Raymondville scored first and held a 2-0 lead for most of the first quarter. With less than a minute to go, it was 4-0 and PI made it 4-2 to start the second quarter.
“It may have been the lowest-scoring first quarter in the history of basketball,” Janak said the next morning. “Basketball is a game of making shots and we made 14 of them last night, which is never a good total.”
That was from the field. It was worse at the free-throw line, from which the Tarpons made only two of 15 tries.
“They ran a zone (defense) … forcing (us) to shoot from the outside. And we made a few early on. Jerry Martinez hit a couple of threes … in the second quarter. That’s a good sign, he being a freshman. We tried to get the ball inside, which we did. We just couldn’t convert.”
Raymondville led 4-2 at the end of a quarter of play, 22-14 at the break, and 29-23 at the end of three quarters.
Jerry Martinez hit consecutive threes and PI took a 10-6 lead to start the second quarter. The score was tied at 11 and again at 13 before the visiting ‘Kats scored nine unanswered points to take a nine-point lead into the final minute of the half.
“I was proud of the kids,” Janak said. “They played hard and they’re trying to do everything to the best of their ability.”
Effort is certainly not a problem with this team. At the start of the second quarter Raymondville turned the ball over in their forecourt and freshman Fernie Lopez went after it along with a Bearkat player. The two chased and fought for the ball across the center line until Lopez finally got the handle. He gathered the ball in and made a beautiful lay-in to tie the score at four. That kind of hustle is not lacking for the Tarps.
Sophomore Nick Carillo led the team in scoring with 12 points and Fernie Lopez was next with seven points. Michael Moore was the Tarpons’ leading rebounder with 10 boards and Lopez made seven steals.
The team is far down in the District 32-4A standings with a 2-8 league record, and is still mathematically in the running for a playoff spot. And the squad remains under-manned with only eight players.
Adrian Marin and Greg Gutierrez each scored 12 points in the freshmen game as the Tarpons held on for a 38-35 win in the B gym. And Anthony Cisneros scorched the nets for 36 points as the Tarpon JV team won 64-57.
“We’ve had a lot of issues and turmoil that have distracted the kids,” Janak told the Press. “The only one who played any significant varsity minutes last year was (Jose) Atkinson. Everybody else was either JV or didn’t play basketball last year.”
Six games remain to be played on the district schedule, starting with a road game at Grulla this Friday, (Jan. 30). Hidalgo will call at Tarpon Gym next Tuesday, (Feb. 3). Then it’s a long road trip to Progreso next Friday, the ninth.
Last Friday in Tarpon Gym the freshmen team lost to Rio Hondo, 49-35. The Tarpon JV went down, 57-25, and the Varsity came up short, 66-42.
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