By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
Port Isabel Tarpon basketball players are once again participating in a summer hoops league and games have already been played.
Port Isabel High Junior Varsity coach Gilbert Rodriguez is assisting with the team, while recent former Tarpon Chris Garza is the actual head coach of the team. Rodriguez can attend games but cannot be anywhere near the sidelines or do any kind of actual coaching.
“I’m assisting,” Rodriguez said this Monday. “I go to the games, watch the guys.”
“We have about 13 (to)14 kids, ranging from incoming freshmen to seniors. We’re combining all the kids right now,” he said.
All games are played in gyms at Harlingen and Harlingen South high schools and teams are not grouped and matched up according to class. “It’s an open game – anybody can play anybody. The Harlingen schools are in there – La Feria, other schools from around the Valley. There are some big schools in there, including some Brownsville schools.”
The rules are mostly exactly the same as in official interscholastic games played in season during the school year, according to Rodriguez. “The only thing that’s different is that they play two 10-minute halves with a running clock. It stops for fouls and free throws.”
The team has won two of the four games they’ve played so far. A game scheduled with Brownsville Hanna this Tuesday was canceled. On Monday, the team lost to Santa Rosa 44-49. “It was close,” Rodriguez said. “They played really hard.”
Coach Rodriguez explained why he likes to see his players in action during the summer. “They can work on skills against different competition. They’ll work on their defensive skills and it helps them a lot.”
“They have fun with it. They get to play against schools that they otherwise wouldn’t get to play, like the Harlingen and Brownsville schools.”
Against some teams Port Isabel players may be at a size disadvantage, he said. “The Harlingen South kids are a little bigger.”
The team will not play again till next week and games will continue to about the end of this month.
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