By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel High Tarpon basketball team is taking the rest of this week off for the Christmas Holiday. They had a game at La Villa last week and practiced three days this week. School is out as of Dec. 18th and classes will resume Monday, Jan. 4.
“I told them that one thing you need to do is sit back and relax, make sure you kiss your mother every day and tell her that you love her. I really emphasize … they spend time with their families.”
The Tarpons were on the road for a non-district game with La Villa last Friday, and came up on the short end of a 50-42 score.
“We were taking poor shots,” first-year head coach Anthony Velarde told the Press this week. “Usually we do a better job of trying to work the ball inside for a good shot, or get a good look from the outside. We forced some shots. We got sloppy.”
P.I. is now 5-11 for the season.
The difference did not come at the free throw line, as neither team shot very well at the stripe. For the game, Port Isabel made nine of 16 foul shots and La Villa hit eight of 23.
It was not the Tarpons’ night for three-pointers, either, as they made only one of 16 attempts. “We’ll take what the defense gives us but that’s not something we want to start doing, throwing up threes,” Velarde said.
The Tarpons trailed 9-14 at the end of the first quarter, led 26-21 at the half, and were behind 34-35 at the start of the final quarter.
“We outscored them 17-7 in the second quarter.”
Fernie Lopez and Juan Muniz led the Tarpons in scoring with 11 points each, and Lopez blocked three shots and stole seven balls. Jose Atkinson led the team with 12 rebounds.
The team will be back in the gym for practice on Monday and for their final game of the year next Tuesday, the 29th. That will be a home game against Brownsville Frontier Academy. Back on Dec. 8 the Tarpons outscored this team, 66-63, on the road.
Coach Velarde provided some insight into how the team practices. “We work hard in practice. I always tell them that practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. Right now we’re still working our base fundamentals. We’re working our shooting, we’re working our free throws, and we’re putting in some new defenses.”
“We’ve got to make sure we’re using our time wisely in practice. Every minute is accounted for.”
Tipoff times for next Tuesday’s games will be 5 o’clock for the JV contest and 6:30 p.m. for varsity. The Tarpons’ district opener will be played Saturday, Jan. 2, at home when the Raymondville Bearkats will visit Tarpon Gym for an afternoon court date.
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