HONDO – After a hiatus from coaching, Adam Romero is back on the sideline.
This time, he’s taken charge of the Hondo girls basketball team as they get set for the 2017-18 season.
“I was an assistant under Brad Holland for the boys for five years,” Romero said. “I also coached a lot of these girls at the junior high level, so they know what I expect.”
Romero inherits a team that lost one of its better players in Fallon Velasquez when her mom – former Hondo girls coach Alice Velasquez – took the volleyball coaching position in Mescalero.
But that doesn’t mean the Lady Eagles are devoid of talent. Indeed, they have three of the toughest seniors in the county, district and maybe even state in Joyce Ann Cooper, Melissa Guillen and Carolina Salcido.
Cooper has been a team leader pretty much since she started playing varsity ball in eighth grade, so she’s ready to get her team to the next level.
Also returning from last year’s 24-5 team are sophomores Kyra Lucero and Berenice Almanza, while freshmen Kate Cooper and Julianna Gonzalez will fill crucial roles.
“The younger girls will learn a lot and help us,” Romero said. “I’m also looking forward to the leadership from our veteran players.”
One veteran who won’t be back is junior Blanca Villanueva, at least not on the court.
“She’s got some issues, so she won’t play this season, but she will be around helping us on the bench,” Romero said. “Hopefully, for her senior year, she can come back and have a great season.”
Last season, the Eagles were the only local team to win their quarterfinal game in the Class 1A State playoffs, narrowly besting Animas, 39-33.
Unfortunately, Hondo ran into Elida in the semifinals.
Romero is hoping to do even better this season.
“This year, we’ll give it everything we’ve got,” Romero said. “We’re hoping to get back to where we were at. And if everything goes well, hopefully we’ll get to the next level.
“I’d like these girls to experience what it’s like in the Pit,” he added. “I’ve been there as an assistant coach, and I’ve been on both ends of that, winning and losing.”
As an assistant to Holland, Romero is looking forward to using a lot of what he learned this year, although he admits to being a little nervous.
“I hadn’t even been to any games,” Romero said. “It will be challenging for me to come back, but I’ll try and do my best.”