Assistant coach was on the Lady Yotes' minds after victory

Pete Garcia, Alice Echo-News Journal

CALALLEN - The Lady Coyotes went into their biggest game of the year so far without a cornerstone of the Alice girls' basketball program.

Longtime Alice assistant coach Jo Newman missed Friday's District 31-4A showdown against rival Calallen after her mother died earlier in the day in George West.

It was the first time Newman missed an Alice girls' varsity game since she and head coach Tracy Zamora took over the program in 1992.

"She wanted to be here tonight," Alice coach Tracy Zamora said of Newman. "But it would be okay."

Still Newman was missed by Zamora and the team.

"She's always excited on the bench," sophomore Felisha Salinas said. "She's always ready to get us ready to go. It was weird not having her here with us."

Normally, Newman handles the Alice girls' offensive formations. On Friday, Zamora had to handle defense and the offense.

"Not having her tonight was really hard for me," Zamora said. "Earlier today, I had to scramble and go over some game film to make sure I knew what (Calallen) was going to do on defense. We missed herů I missed her."

Earlier this season, Zamora collected her 300th win as Alice's basketball coach.

"If she were here, she would have just told them to go out there and play their game and to play to win," Zamora said. "I just told the kids the same thing; to not worry about anything else, but to just go out and play to win."

Still, Friday's win against Calallen was for Newman and her family, players said.

"This one was for coach Newman," Alice sophomore Mariah Mandel said.