By CLAIRE CRUZ, Staff Writer
The Rio Grande Valley Basketball Coaches Association announced its 2019-2020 boys and girls hoops All-Valley teams Tuesday night.
East Valley squads were well represented, particularly in boys basketball.
The Los Fresnos Falcons were heavily rewarded following a historic season that ended in the Sweet 16. Senior Elian Gonzalez was named the Class 6A All-Valley Most Valuable Player and his District 32-6A co-MVP, freshman Gerry Martinez, clinched the newcomer of the year award. Marco Hinojosa was tabbed the coach of the year.
Rounding out the superlatives are offensive player of the year Elijah De La Garza from PSJA North and defensive player of the year Jose Luis Yebra Jr. from McAllen Rowe.
Martinez and Gonzalez were members of the offensive and defensive teams, respectively. Senior Ricky Altamirano was honored with a spot on the offensive team and a first-team recognition. Harlingen South’s Alex Rodriguez made the defensive team and was a second-team selection.
Rodriguez was one of six 32-6A players to receive second-team honors. He was joined by fellow Hawks players Brady Bennett and Rudy Rodriguez, Harlingen High’s Mike Vasquez and Ashton Adams, and Brownsville Hanna’s Sabian Arceneaux.
Also, Hanna was represented by sophomore Charles Thirlwall as an honorable mention, and San Benito senior Jeremy Sauceda made the honorable mention list as well.
The Harlingen High Lady Cardinals racked up the most awards of all East Valley Class 6A girls teams, led by Ashley Moncivaiz being named the coach of the year. Los Fresnos senior standout Ari Gallardo earned the All-Valley offensive player of the year award.
McAllen Memorial’s Valerie Garcia received top honors and was named the All-Valley most valuable player. Weslaco High claimed the other two superlatives, as Haley Villalpando was named defensive player of the year and freshman Morgan Peralez took the newcomer of the year prize.
Gallardo and Harlingen High sophomore Avery Hinojosa made the offensive team, and Harlingen South’s Julia Celis was a defensive team honoree.
The Lady Cardinals were represented by Hinojosa on the first team, freshman Rosa Zapata on the second team and juniors Alexus Coto and Callie Cervantes on the third team. The South Lady Hawks had Karla Reyes on the first team, and Celis and Laura Ramirez made the third team.
Brownsville Hanna’s Odalys Gonzalez was a second-team selection and San Benito’s Karen Vega made the third team to round out the East Valley representatives.
The boys Class 5A superlatives were dominated by Sharyland Pioneer. Derek Luna was named the All-Valley most valuable player, Lavar Lindo took the defensive player of the year honors and Rene Gonzalez was tabbed coach of the year for the Diamondbacks.
Brownsville Veterans Memorial senior Damian Maldonado earned the offensive player of the year award, and the newcomer title went to Mission Veterans Memorial’s Jacob Arenas. Maldonado and Brownsville Pace sophomore Christian Guajardo were offensive team selections, and the Vikings were represented by Abraham Rincon on the defensive team.
Guajardo and Kelly Davis of Brownsville Veterans made the first team, and Pace’s Elias Fortaneli and Brownsville Veterans’ Matthew Maddox made the second team. Rincon and Pace teammate Alexander Agado received honorable mention nods.
Brownsville Veterans and Brownsville Pace had the only East Valley representatives in the All-Valley Class 5A girls selections.
Mission Veterans’ Ronnie Cantu was the most valuable player and Kaylee Flores clinched the offensive honors. Defensive player of the year went to Valley View’s Daniela Garza, and Rio Grande City took the final superlatives as Melanie Lopez was named the newcomer of the year and Gus Valenciana was tabbed the top coach.
Brownsville Veterans had Lizzie Garza on the offensive team, and Catie Esquivel and Alexa Parchmont were defensive team honorees. Garza and Esquivel were first-team selections for the Lady Chargers. Brownsville Pace’s Sophia Espinoza and Priscilla Garcia were on the first and second teams, respectively.
The sub-5A All-Valley boys selections featured a variety of East Valley players. San Perlita’s Tige Johnson was the most valuable player, and Nataniel Garza claimed coach of the year honors.
Rio Hondo’s Jabez Villarreal was named the offensive player of the year, and Cole Pinkerton of Port Isabel took the top defensive award. San Isidro sophomore Marcos Barrera earned the newcomer of the year title.
The All-Valley offensive team was comprised of all East Valley athletes. Port Isabel’s Daniel Rinza, Santa Maria’s Giovanni Diaz and Brownsville Jubilee’s Fabian Nobile joined Villarreal and Johnson as the top offensive players. Pinkerton, San Perlita’s Gabriel Lopez and Santa Maria’s Bernardino Castellanos made the defensive team.
Nobile and Cameron Davila represented Jubilee on the first team after their UIL debut season. Castellanos and Diaz also made the first team, and Cougars teammate Andrew Morales was a second-team selection. Trojans senior Lopez was joined by James Herrera and Enrique “EJ” Nieto on the first team, and sophomore teammate Ely Terry made the second team to round out the 32-2A honorees.
Brownsville St. Joseph Academy senior twins Josh and John Martinez were first-team selections, and sophomore Luigi Cristiano made the second team. Fellow Bloodhounds Jimmy Navarro and Rafa Varela received honorable mentions.
Port Isabel’s Rinza made the first team, and Kaiden Martinez and Dennis Lozano were second-team selections. Jason Lowe made the honorable mention list. Rio Hondo’s CJ Leal and Daniel Garcia were second-team honorees.
The girls All-Valley sub-5A superlatives featured two Hidalgo team members as senior Savannah Sanchez took the most valuable player title and Saul Arjona was named the coach of the year. Santa Maria’s Yazmin Cantu was tabbed the offensive player of the year, San Isidro’s Mia Alvarado earned the top defensive award and Brownsville Jubilee freshman Marianna Espinoza claimed the newcomer of the year honor.
Cantu, her sister Byanca and Espinoza made the offensive team. Alvarado was joined by Jubilee’s Julissa Garza and two Lyford Lady Bulldogs, Samantha Delgado and Kayleen May, as defensive team members. Byanca Cantu and Garza also were on the first team.
May and sophomore teammate Damaris Bermudez were first-team selections, and Delgado made the second team for Lyford. San Perlita’s Karime Rojos and Meagan Kinney made the first team, and sophomore Aliyah Garcia was a second-team honoree. Santa Maria’s Clara Briones and Raymondville’s Ilanie Zamora were both second-team selections.