New coaches lead San Jon hoopsters

William Thompson

The San Jon High School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams began practice recently for the 2004-2005 season under the direction of first-year coaches. Both coaches said they are looking forward to the challenge of coaching high school ball.

Head Coach Richie Martinez begins his first ever season as a high school basketball head coach. He already has challenges to overcome. “We’ve got five sophomores, so I’m spending a lot of time teaching fundamentals to the younger players,” said Martinez. “We still have some players out due to sickness, so I won’t know until the end of next week exactly who all my players are going to be.” Martinez said he is happy to have two returning seniors. “Trey Rusk and Jared Archuleta can both jump and shoot well,” he said. “They are also familiar with the plays I’ll be calling.”

Martinez said his offensive plays involve lots of motion and are designed to involve every player. “I don’t want to send in plays that are set up for just certain players,” he said. “By getting every player involved in the play, each player gives more effort because they know they can be a key to the offense.” Martinez said he expects his team to be competitive. “I don’t have any idea about what players the other teams have coming back, but I’ve got around seven players I know are capable of starting. All the players are very positive and ready to begin play.” The Coyotes open the season Nov. 19 at Adrian, Texas.

A.J. Laird, a former basketball player for Texas A&M Commerce University, leads the Lady Coyotes into a rebuilding season. She, like boys’ coach Martinez, is spending a lot of time teaching fundamentals. “It will be a challenging season, said Laird. “We will have to outwork other teams.” Martinez mentioned three players she thinks will have an impact for San Jon. “Danielle Lee can penetrate straight to the basket. JaTawn Slutz has the ability to see the floor and Gabby Stoner is a good defensive player,” said Laird. “It’s still a young team, though, and we only have two players that are six feet tall.” Laird said her players’ free throw shooting will keep them in games this season.
“This team has the ability to surprise some people,” she said, “but my main goal is to see the girls improve this season. Practice has been going really well and these girls are very motivated.”

The Lady Coyotes play at Adrian, Texas Nov. 19 in the season opener.