The McAllen Memorial Mustangs have brushed off a 1-6 start to the 2021-22 season and turned the corner as one of the hottest teams across the Rio Grande Valley in recent weeks.
The turnaround can be attributed to three three-year lettermen and starters — senior guard Arian Elizondo and senior twins Jalen and Jaden Muhammad — rejoining the squad after helping the Mustangs football team reach the Class 5A Division I regional semifinals, first-year head coach Rick Treviño said.
Since then, the Mustangs have gone 13-4 overall, 4-0 in District 31-5A and have taken down crosstown rival McAllen High 74-73 on Tuesday by overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.
“When they came back, little by little we saw some improvement. Sure enough, each tournament we were in they would get better and now they’re just playing really good ball right now,” Treviño said. “They’re not only in-sync, but they’re playing harder than they ever have, so they’re turning it on at the right time.”
Next for McAllen Memorial (14-10, 4-0) is a road game against Valley View at 7:30 tonight.
IN THE CLUB
The 1,000-points club welcomed two more members over the past two weeks as McAllen Memorial’s Elizondo and Weslaco High’s Andrew Olmeda crossed the milestone.
Elizondo, a senior guard, accomplished the feat by scoring 20 points during a 74-44 victory against PSJA Memorial on Dec. 31.
Olmeda, also a senior guard, joined one week later as he hit 1,000 career points with a 25-point performance during a 64-45 win over Brownsville Hanna on Jan. 7.
PACE TAKES TOP SPOT
McAllen Memorial’s takedown of last week’s No. 1 McAllen High knocked the Bulldogs from the top spot in the RGVSports.com boys basketball top 10 poll.
Taking their place in the latest top 10 is the Brownsville Pace Vikings, who jump from No. 2 to No. 1. Brownsville St. Joseph also moved up a spot from No. 3 to No. 2 after the McHi loss and a 56-48 Wednesday victory over Laredo St. Augustine.
The Bulldogs didn’t tumble far, however, as they slid to the No. 3 spot in this week’s top 10.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Tonight’s boys basketball games to keep an eye on include Edinburg Vela traveling to take on La Joya High at 7:30 p.m in a battle of the District 31-6A leading SaberCats (21-6, 7-0) and last year’s defending district champion Coyotes (15-11, 3-3).
District 30-5A is set for tipoff with a matchup between Starr County rivals Rio Grande City and Roma at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Grande City High School.
In District 32-5A, former Donna High assistant and Mercedes first-year head coach Josh Guerrero leads the Tigers (13-7, 3-1) back to his old stomping grounds for a district test against Donna High (11-8, 0-2) at 6 p.m.
Also, in 32-5A, Weslaco East (3-1 in district) and Brownsville Pace (23-4, 4-0) will collide in a meeting of district title contenders at 6 p.m. at Pace High School.