East Valley seniors selected to RGVBCA All-Star game

By CLAIRE CRUZ, Staff Writer

LYFORD — The Rio Grande Valley Basketball Coaches Association announced the rosters for the senior All-Star games late Friday night.

The new honors came after the decisions to cancel all remaining spring sports seasons by the University Interscholastic League and Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools. Donna High boys basketball coach Manuel Epperson, an RGVBCA board member, said that despite the circumstances, the association does hope to have the games, even if they have to wait for a while.

“If things (with COVID-19) clear up and we’re able to use school facilities, then the games will be played,” Epperson said. “If we can’t have fans we’ll still play the game and it can be streamed online. We’ll play any time before the next school year starts and kids are off to college if we get the chance.”

Los Fresnos had the most seniors selected for the Class 6A East All-Star boys squad. Elian Gonzalez, Ricky Altamirano, Luis Gonzalez and Tony Aldrighetti made the team that will be led by Falcons coach Marco Hinojosa.

San Benito followed close behind with three players selected in Jeremy Sauceda, Devin Rubio and Cody Martinez. Harlingen South also had multiple honorees as Brady Bennett and Gabriel Marez will be representing the Hawks.

Brownsville Hanna’s Sabian Arceneaux and Harlingen High’s Mike Vasquez also made the 15-man roster. Two Raiders from PSJA North, Fernie Salazar and Izaiah Rangel, join McAllen Memorial’s Christian Espinoza and Weslaco High’s Joshua Rodriguez to round out the squad.

The Harlingen South and Los Fresnos girls programs also were highly recognized on the 6A East Valley All-Star girls team. Both programs have three seniors on the roster, which will be led by Lady Falcons coach Rebecca Valdez. Ari Gallardo, Clarissa Esquibel and Giovanna Godoy will suit up for their coach one last time if a game is held. Julia Celis, Karla Reyes and Laura Ramirez are the Harlingen South representatives.

“I’m extremely proud of them. (This) shows the hard work they’ve put in over the years and the dedication to their team. They are all great kids and deserve the recognition,” Harlingen South coach Kelly Garrett said.

San Benito’s Kayla Gaona and Karen Vega, and Brownsville Hanna’s Odalys Gonzalez and Samantha Ramos are among the 12 players on the squad. Weslaco East also has two honorees in Janelle and Jamie Tanguma.

Four players each from Districts 32-4A and 32-2A made the sub-6A East All-Star boys team that will be coached by Santa Maria’s Albert Briones.

Port Isabel will be represented by Dennis Lozano and Daniel Rinza Jr., and Rio Hondo’s CJ Leal and Jabez Villarreal also were selected. San Perlita’s Tige Johnson and Gabriel Lopez will team up with district foes Giovanni Diaz and Andrew Morales from Santa Maria.

St. Joseph Academy also has two honorees in twins Josh and John Martinez, who will join Brownsville Veterans Memorial four-year letterman Damian Maldonado on the squad. Donna High’s Brandon Chavez and Jose “Trey” Rodriguez, Edcouch-Elsa’s Aaron Aguinaga and Mercedes’ Jordan Ovalle round out the roster.

Brownsville Veterans coach Arnold Torres will be leading the sub-6A East All-Star girls squad. Lady Chargers players Alexandra Parchmont and Lizzie Garza will join their coach one last time.

“Lizzie and Alex have been great leaders for the team and are well-deserving of the recognition,” Torres said. “They helped establish a foundation for Veterans basketball from the first day they stepped on the floor as varsity players.”

On being chosen as the coach, he added: “I am honored that my peers would recognize me with this opportunity. But it is a reflection of my coaching staff and the great players we were blessed with this year.”

Two other 32-5A players in Brownsville Pace’s Priscilla Garcia and Sofie Espinoza are on the team. The Lyford Lady Bulldogs will be represented by Samantha Delgado and Kayleen May.

District 32-2A has three honorees in San Perlita’s Meagan Kinney and Santa Maria’s Byanca Cantu and Michelle Almazan. Santa Maria boys and girls basketball coach Albert Briones is proud of his four senior selections.

“It is an honor to have worked with these great athletes and watching them grow since elementary. We hope we can have an all-star game in the summer, and if not their efforts won’t ever be forgotten and they have represented their community well,” Briones said.

Mercedes’ Mika Vento and Sellie Gonzales, PSJA Memorial’s Yasmine Garcia and Victoria Gonzalez, Edcouch-Elsa’s Nyra Jimenez and Gabrielle Campos from Donna High complete the roster.