By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
February 5, 2015
Sometimes, how you play the game really does matter more than whether you win or lose.
Never, in any game in the new Tarpon Gym, did those words seem truer than this past Tuesday night’s game between the Port Isabel Tarpons and the Hidalgo Pirates.
The Tarpons managed to hang with the Hidalgo for the first quarter – they were within six points, 11-5, at one point and trailed 13-5 at the start of the second quarter.
But in the second quarter the Pirates outscored PI 31-0, and held them scoreless again in the third, 12-0. The Tarpons put 10 points on the board in the last quarter while Hidalgo was scoring 19 and that was a final, 65-15.
“It’s tough when you can’t put the ball in the hole and we struggled with that all night,” head Port Isabel coach Nathan Janak said the morning after the game.
The Pirates were extremely quick and athletic and played a stifling half-court defense.
In the first meeting between the two squads last month Hidalgo rolled 106-22.
Coach Janak pointed out a number of positives from the previous night’s game; “We made sure we sprinted back on defense to take away easy lay-ups, and we did that all night long,” Janak said. “Our goal was to keep them well under 100 points and we did that. We made things harder for them than we did last time.”
The Tarpons never stopped hustling. They fought for every rebound, drove the basket, and made some amazing passes. Another improvement was the number or turnovers. “We had almost 50 turnovers the first time we played them and it was in the low 20’s last night.”
As Janak has said, this season is a work in progress and considerable progress was made this week against Hidalgo.
“They competed all night long. That’s the mentality we’re trying to create … to be tenacious, to never give up, and just keep coming.
Freshman Fernie Lopez had some of the best moves on either side; “He’s a freshman and he’s played almost every single game on varsity. He’s starting to play like a sophomore and next year he’s going to have a whole year of varsity experience.”
Janak also singled out two other freshmen, Jeremy Martinez and Anthony de la Garza, for praise; “Jeremy had six points against a top 20 state-ranked team, and Anthony has started to play under control. He’s quick and can defend kids. And our older players … Michael Moore is really starting to get more aggressive and more physical.”
Hidalgo made it a sweep with victories in the freshmen and JV contests; 44-16 and 59-27 respectively.
Four games remain to be played; the team will travel to Progreso this Friday and will be back in Tarpon Gym for the next two games, La Feria next Monday, Feb. 9, and Zapata on Friday, Feb. 13. It will be Parents’ Night for the latter. The 2015 district season will close out with a game at Rio Hondo on Monday, the 16th.
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