Magical season is just the beginning of a bigger plan for Lady Hounds

SAN BENITO — When head coach AbelMoreno arrived in San Benito four years ago he had one goal in mind: To make the Lady Greyhounds basketball program relevant once again.

Judging by recent performances on the court, he’s well on his way to doing so.

“When I got here my main goal was to make the Lady Hounds a perennial basketball program,” said Moreno. “A program people were going to respect and a program people would be intimidated to play. I think we’re taking strides to achieve that.

“I know this year’s team is special because I remember the moment I stepped onto this campus when they (the seniors) were all freshman. I knew back then that they were going to be a special group and they haven’t proven me wrong.”

Since Moreno arrived, the program has made strides each and every year, especially this season when the team won the District 32-6A title, which was a first since 2011. To add a bit of extra icing to the cake, the Lady Hounds clinched the league crown after defeating longtime rivals Harlingen High in a thrilling 62-55 OT game. The last time San Benito achieved that milestone was in 1989.

“I’ve told them that by themselves they are not the best, but together they’ve got magic,” said Moreno. “When they play together, there are very few teams that are going to stop them except themselves.”

That team magic has captivated the San Benito fan base that has followed the Lady Hounds.

With their first goal of attaining the district title in bag, the Lady Hounds are now ready to tackle the next goal, which is going past the second round of the playoffs. Their journey begins Tuesday when they host Edinburg Vela in a Class 6A bi-district contest. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

“I’ve seen our team get stronger with every passing game and now we are just focused on the playoffs,” said Arlene Lucero. “We are focused on making history this year because San Benito has only made it to the second round, so we’re trying to get further this year and make history.

“I think what has made this team special is that we all have something to contribute. It’s not just one player that is good because we have a lot of talented players that contribute.”

Despite their recent success, the team remains extremely focused on the postseason.

“We’re just going to work even harder than we did before,” said MirandaVallejo. “We each play a role on this team, and we know our weaknesses and our strengths. We just try to play toward each of our strengths.”