By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
Port Isabel High Lady Tarpon basketball players Alex Martinez and Kelcie Swink took top honors when the All-District 32-4A teams were announced recently.
Swink was named Offensive Player of the Year by the district coaches and Martinez was named to the All-District First Team.
“She’s been a very good scorer for us and it was a well-deserved honor for her,” head coach Blake Ramsey said this week of Swink. “She was the one who made our team go offensively. Everything went through her, whether we needed her to take it one-on-one to score, or post up or pass to an open teammate. She was a great leader and captain.”
As Swink’s coach for two seasons, Ramsey was able to watch her grow and develop into a more complete player. “Early on in the year, I think, she tried to do too much,” Ramsey said Monday. “(As the season progressed) she worked on being under control and trusting her teammates more.”
Alex Martinez may have been the greatest hustler on the team as she finished the season among the Valley leaders in the theft department. “She was a great defensive player and our second-leading scorer,” Ramsey told the Press. “Most of her points came off of her steals. She was very quick and she averaged 5.8 steals per game. She was in the top five in the Valley. That was her role, and she embraced it.”
Swink is a senior and will graduate this spring. Martinez, a junior, has one more year of eligibility remaining.
Named to the All-District Second Team was junior Karina Vela. “She played the last two games of last season and this was her first season on varsity. She was our second-leading rebounder. She did a great job.”
Cecily Niles and Jasmine Saldivar were both named to the All-District Honorable Mention list. “Cecily was my utility player,” Ramsey said. “Anything that needed to be done she did it. She wasn’t a great scorer but she did everything else well. She was a leader for the other girls and she did all the little things that some others maybe weren’t willing to do.”
Saldivar, a sophomore, was new to the varsity this past season. “I moved her up right after Thanksgiving break from JV. We needed more defensive pressure up front from the guard position. She came up and her first game with the varsity she got eight steals. She definitely got after it.”
So what’s it look like for next year? “It’s going to hurt losting our top scorer. That whole senior group, they each contributed in a special way,” the coach explained. “It’s going to be a different dynamic next year. I don’t think we’re going to have one person who can score 14 points a game, like Kelcie did. We’re going to have to have scoring from everybody. We may be more effective.”
Additional honors for Swink included being named to the Brownsville Herald’s All Metro First Team and also to All-Valley Second Team. Martinez was named the All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year.
Swink has also been selected to play in two upcoming Valley all-star games. She is practicing this week to play in this Saturday’s RGV Vipers Showcase All-Star game in Hidalgo’s State Farm Arena. On April 19th she will play in the Rio Grande Valley Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game, which is open only to high school seniors. The Vipers’ Showcase game is open to players of all Valley schools, big or small, and is not restricted to seniors.
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