Up on stage, under the bright lights, the Lady Cougars once again enjoyed the brilliance of a season past.

The North girls’ basketball team was named the Girls’ Team of the Year at the third annual All-Star Sports Awards banquet last week, in a ceremony held at Marine Military Academy in Harlingen. The event, sponsored by the Harlingen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Valley Freedom Newspapers, rewarded the Lady Coogs for winning 27 games and advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first in program history.

Coach Jenny Gaytan, who was also nominated for Coach of the Year, brought several members of her team along with assistant coach Nora Smith to receive the award. She and the others agreed that the season was magical, adding that during the length and breadth of the journey, the long hours and hard work did not take much of a toll.

“It was so fun to be up there at the regional tournament,” said point guard Dani Vargas, a big part of the squad’s record-breaking season. “We accomplished a lot and it never seemed like work because we all got along so well.”

Smith said that one of the main factors behind the North success was the fact that the players all did what they were supposed to do, when they were supposed to do it.

“These kids were very coachable,” she informed the crowd of more than 250 people. “I mean, we had our ups and downs like any team, but the girls were very eager to listen and learn.”

After having won the city’s title as All-Sports king for the second year in a row, North added to its list of accolades with three nominations at the Valley-wide banquet. Besides the pair from girls’ basketball, the Cougar football team that made it to the third round of the playoffs for the first time ever was nominated for Boys’ Team of the Year.


Three days after the high school event, a trio of men with ties to the city became part of the latest induction class for the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held Friday at Victoria Palms Resort in Donna, where Luis Alamia, Mo Molina, and Otto Moore joined the rare air with entry into the Hall of Fame, celebrating its 25th year.

Moore is the leading career scorer and rebounder in UTPA history, Alamia was a record-setting base-stealer in college baseball, and Molina one of the most successful high school hoops coaches in area annals. Molina and Alamia graduated from Edinburg High in the 1960s while Moore is a Miami native who came to Pan Am before embarking on a 9-year stint in the NBA.

Alamia led off the series of inductees, speaking admirably of his family and telling some good yarns about the early days of his career. Molina noted that he was raised north of town in Faysville, and often had to get pretty creative to invent games to play by himself in that desolate outpost. Moore expressed wonder at the journey his career took him on, which included trips to dozens of foreign countries.

NOTES: For a complete report on the Hall banquet, access the paper’s Web site at edinburgreview.com.