Undersized Mesquite contends for playoff spot

January, 25, 2012
On an undersized Mesquite girls basketball team, senior Michelle Espinoza is an unsung hero in the eyes of coach Jan Newland.

The 5-foot-7 Espinoza, Mesquite's starting post, regularly goes up against the opponent's tallest player.

“I can guarantee you won’t find anybody tougher than Michelle in our district,’’ Newland said. “She’s really a hard worker.

“With our lack of height, it is very important that we do a good job of blocking out so we don’t allow the second and third shots,‘’ Newland added.

Offensively, Mesquite is led by 5-foot-5 senior guard Cemetra Jenkins, who averages 17.4 points per game. Backcourt mate Briana Caro, a sophomore averaging 12.8 points, connected on four 3-pointers (giving her 66 for the season) in Tuesday’s 47-37 loss to DeSoto, which is ranked No. 4 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10.

Junior forward Viershanie Latham, a 2011 Region II qualifier in the triple jump for the track and field team, pulled down 14 rebounds against DeSoto. Latham averages 10.2 points and nine rebounds.

A 61-49 road victory at Tyler Lee last Friday has helped position the Lady Skeeters as a playoff contender.

“I think we’ll be fine,’’ Newland said. “We just need to take care of business. The win in Tyler was big for our kids and I thought we did a good job against DeSoto.’’

Mesquite (17-9, 3-3 in District 11-5A) faces Mesquite Horn (12-14, 4-2) at 7 p.m. Friday on the road in an important 11-5A contest. In their first district meeting on Jan. 6, Mesquite squandered an 18-point lead and lost, 48-42, in overtime.



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