MVP: LAURA TORRES (jr.) EHS
Dominated at times on both offense and defense, leading the Lady Bobcats in scoring (16 ppg) and steals (5.1) while grabbing 4.4 rebounds a night. “LT” was the sparkplug for a Lady ‘Cat team that defied the odds to make it to the Sweet 16 in San Antonio. At top form in the money games, she scored 23 in the regional quarterfinal upset of Harlingen South and added 22 more in the regional round against San Antonio Wagner. Poured in a career-high 41 points against P-SJ-A Memorial in midseason.
BIANCA CASAS (jr.) EHS
A very heady point guard out front, she paced the team in assists with nearly six per game and made over three steals a night as well. Casas averaged in double figures for the playoff-bound EHS squad, gunning for a season-high of 24 points against Econ. Her quickness and decision-making improved by the week, and she came up with some enormous second-half plays in the third-round win over South.
VICKY PENA (soph) NORTH
Emerged as a vital contributor for the Lady Coogs as a sophomore, averaging 13 ppg with a variety of smooth dribble-drive moves and the ability to sink the long jumper. Pena is one of the most exciting players in the league, a scoring machine who can get red-hot at times. She hit for 24 against P-SJ-A and 22 versus Pharr North, and should be one of the Valley’s top scorers as a junior. An underrated defender.
BRANDY GARCIA (sr.) NORTH
This four-year starter showed an all-around game during her career at North, playing inside when need be and stepping out onto the perimeter at other junctures. Led the Lady Coogs to the Sweet 16 by pacing the squad in rebounds and blocks while scoring 11 points a night. As a senior, her passing and shot-blocking stood out for a unit that won 27 games including three in the playoffs.
DANI VARGAS (jr.) NORTH
Speedy point guard was instrumental in the team’s considerable success this year, leading the way in assists and three-pointers while pumping in 10 ppg. She bombed for a season-high 24 points against Brownsville Lopez and was on fire during the playoffs. A terrific defender, she made four steals per game and made it tough for opposing teams to set up in the halfcourt offense. An All-Valley candidate for her senior season to come.
ANAKA GARCIA (sr.) EHS
Though felled with a season-ending foot injury shortly after league play began, this hard-working veteran was second in the entire Valley in rebounding (11 per game) at that time. She also scored double figures per night and proved her worth to the team by taking ball-handling chores when the situation called for it. No one studied and toiled harder than Garcia, who leaves the program embodying the program’s standard of excellence.
VIANEY SALINAS (jr.) NORTH
She came out of nowhere to become a threat in the low post with long-armed shot-blocking skills and a dependable short jump shot. Perhaps the tipping factor in North’s run to the Sweet 16, she excelled down the stretch with 18 points against EHS and 13 versus South. Expect her averages of six points and seven rebounds to double in a senior year that has the coaches salivating at her untapped potential.
MARIAH GALVAN (sr.) ECON
Confident senior who was a lockdown defender with super feet and aggressive style. She scored 10 ppg for the Lady Jags this season and had some top nights, including 24 points against EHS, 22 versus Pharr North, and 21 against Santa Rosa. Hard to stop on the drive, she went to the basket with force, earning many trips to the free-throw line as a result. A bright spot in an up-and-down season for the Orange.
ESSENCE BROWN (sr.) NORTH
Ol’ Reliable for four seasons with the Lady Coogs, she often set the pace for the team with early steals and layups at the other end. One could always count on Brown for 32 minutes of hard-nosed defense and impassioned team leadership, and she scored seven points a game to boot. Was comfortable on the drive or helping run the offensive set out front.
VICTORIA PONCE (sr.) EHS
Another of the injury casualties suffered by the Lady ‘Cats late in the year, she was nonetheless a regular cog in the machine. She averaged eight points per game with 21 3-pointers, and played a senior leader role for the highly successful EHS charge. At her best in an overtime win against North during the first half of the 31-5A season, with a season-high 21 points, Ponce did many things that do not register in the scorebook, with hustling play and constant deflections on the defensive end.
COACH OF THE YEAR: JENNY GAYTAN, NORTH
Took her talented squad and guided it to the Sweet 16 in her fourth year as coach. Gaytan’s patient approach paid off with 27 wins this season, as the seniors she began with at North scaled the heights to become one of the most outstanding units in program annals. Her girls peaked at the right time, running the offense to perfection and creating consistent transition opportunities with tough D. The road upset of Harlingen South was just the precursor for this memorable group, as it then won three playoff games in succession.