By Larry Gage
Special to the PRESS
Senior Tarpon basketball player Dennis Lozano can’t wait for hoops season to get here. He is one of those Port Isabel High players who never seems to stop working on his game and trying to get better. The Press found him outside Tarpon Gym this week and he shared his thoughts about his final year of high school hard court competition.
“I think this is going to be the best year of my high school career, for basketball,” Lozano told the Press Tuesday. “We have a stronger team now.”
“We have more confidence, and we feel like we can go further and make more history … win district this year. We just want to keep it going and make the program better.”
The Port Isabel boys’ basketball program has definitely made history the past two seasons. Two years ago they became the first Tarpon team to advance to the third round of the playoffs. Last year’s team won a school record 26 games.
Most Valley basketball players stay active in the game throughout the off-season, and Lozano is no exception.
“I played with the RGV Lakers, then I started working. We played some tournaments. We’re ready to get started.”
The Port Isabel High program has coaching continuity these days. Head boys coach Mike Hazelton will start his third season as the head man in a few weeks, and the benefits of having the same coach all through his Varsity career are not lost on Lozano.
“I like him as a coach. He lets us play our own game and have free will. He’s a coach who lets you do what you’re comfort-table with.”
“He’s going to be very valuable this year,” Coach Hazelton said this week. “We were a smaller, guard-oriented team the last couple years, and most of those guys have graduated, except for Dennis. So he has the experience of playing in the backcourt, playing point guard and the two guard.”
“When he was a freshman he was the leading scorer on JV (junior varsity), and he had to adjust his game from being a scorer to being a playmaker. He’s been putting in a lot of time getting in shape and getting ready to go.”
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