By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel Tarpons basketball squad ended their season Monday night with a 58-27 loss in the final district contest of the season at Rio Hondo.
The Tarpons end their 2014-15 season with a 6-21 record overall, 2-12 in District 32-4A play.
“They jumped on us pretty quick and we made a lot of mistakes early in the game,” first-year PI boys head coach Nathan Janak said Wednesday. “That’s kind of typical of a young team on the road.”
“Rio Hondo was playing for a playoff spot and (they) came out really lights out, and we were in catch-up mode the rest of the game,” Janak said.
Rio Hondo led 19-8 at the end of the opening quarter, 37-12 at the half, and 47-18 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Almost immediately at least one Tarpon player found himself in foul trouble; “Fernie (Lopez) … had two fouls in the first quarter and we tried to get him out of the game and he picked up his third foul (first quarter). He’s one of our younger kids that really applies defensive pressure. He had to sit out most of the game and he fouled out in the fourth quarter. So that kinda’ slowed us down right away.”
“We played better defense in the second half, held them to 10 points in the third quarter,” Janak said.
“Big Nick (Carillo) finally learned how to block out and one time he used his body to block out two people.”
This is a young team that had only one senior, Chris Garza, this season, which means that almost the whole team will return next year.
“Now we’ve got eight players with a year-plus of varsity experience and three freshmen (sophomores next season) with a year of varsity experience.
Last Friday the Tarpons led Zapata 23-20 at halftime and 33-31 at the end of three quarters but lost in the end 57-48.
“We were able to win some district games and we were in quite a few district games that we had a chance to win,” Janak said.
“The kids were asked to do some things that they had never been asked to do till this year. We worked on a lot of fundamental skills … because they lacked them,” explained the coach.
Some of the players are involved in spring sports such as baseball and track, but Janak is encouraging them to continue to work on their game as they have free time to do so. “Anytime they’re in the gym, shooting, dribbling, passing, playing … is only going to make us better,” he said of his squad.
Coach Janak will also do what he can to involve his players in a summer hoops league. “For sure we’ll get into a summer league, probably in June, and we’ll try to find one in Brownsville. Last year we were in Harlingen. I’d love for the guys to go to a summer team camp, if there’s one nearby,” he said.
“I think we’ve got it moving in the right direction,” said Janak. “I think the kids that were here in the end, they worked hard, played hard, came to practice every day with a good attitude. They want to learn and get better and that’s always a good sign.”
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