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La Feria looks to rebound after turbulent season

The La Feria Lions break out of the huddle during a timeout. Pictured are Dustin Mancillas (2), head coach Dario Sanchez, assistant coach Jaime Guerra, Dario Sanchez Jr. (12), Julian Torres (5), Jose Garcia (21), and Xander Barrera (32). Photo by Kevin Narro.

by Kevin Narro | RSL

LA FERIA – The 2019-2020 season was one to forget for the La Feria Lions basketball team.

The Lions, who consistently make the playoffs, took a step back last season. 

The Lions went 2-25 overall and 0-14 in district play. 

This year, the Lions return eight players from last season, including Dario Sanchez Jr. , Carlos Gonzalez and Xander Barrera. 

“This year, we did not want to go winless in district play,” Sanchez Jr. said. “That left a real sting in our hearts, and we came into this year with a chip on our shoulder, and we wanted to prove to the district that we won’t fold like we have in the past.” 

While 2020 provided plenty of twists and turns, the offseason and preseason were cut short due to COVID-19 and limited what coach Dario Sanchez wanted to do. 

“I’m not special, everyone in our district is dealing with (COVID-19) in the same way,” Sanchez said. “We had four preseason games. Some teams may have gotten five at the most, and then we went into district. Everyday, it is a new thing – some people are gone and some people come back. We have to figure that out, and it is a challenge. We are all in the same boat.” 

La Feria’s Cameron Wood attacks the basket with Port Isabel’s Kayden Martinez defending him on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, at the La Feria Lions and Lionettes Gymnasium. Photo by Kevn

Despite the pandemic slowing down the season, the Lions are currently in the thick of the district race and have seen a turnaround. Sanchez believes it begins with his team’s willingness to not quit. 

“My boys do not quit on me,” Sanchez said. “We have lost a few games in district play – and they have been some close ones – but they don’t quit.” 

The Lions have seen their eight returning players step in and take on minutes, and last year’s struggles have been a motivation factor into this year.  

“The kids will continue to work and keep that fire that they came in with when we started the year.” said Sanchez. 

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