AGUA DULCE — Preseason high school basketball tournaments are what a team makes of them. Some teams simply for experience and some use tournaments to sharpen their skills.
The Agua Dulce Lady Longhorns used the early-season contests as an opportunity to improve and come together as a team. They also picked up some nice hardware for the school's trophy case, and coach Jesse Cadena hopes the success of winning two tournaments and a handful of other games is a sign of good things to come.
The Lady Longhorns won the Hebbronville tournament and then their own Agua Dulce tournament. They then began District 31-2A with a convincing victory against long-time rival Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco. They followed that up with a key 48-32 victory against Refugio.
The team is built around a few veteran players and some young talent. Leading the bunch are returning starters guard Lillie Garza and post Sydney Surber. The two seniors anchor the team’s lineup. Abby Garibaldo, Regan Lerma and Lisa Hadnot play key roles this season after playing off the bench in 2014. Agua Dulce is also getting a big-time hand from freshman Megan Calvez.
“I think this team is really playing well defensively and they communicate very well,” Cadena said. “Those are the biggest differences from this year compared to last year. There’s a lot of chemistry on this team. Most of these girls have played together for years now, so they’re improved a lot.”
Coming into district play, the Lady Longhorns had amassed an 11-1 record.
“I think the way we were able to play early on really helped our confidence,” Cadena said. “We were able to work on a lot of things in our tournaments and that made us a better team.”
Agua Dulce resumes district play Tuesday, Jan. 2, against Premont.