The Taos News - Taos County All-Stars 2018-2019
A TEAM TRANSFORMED: GILBERT MASCAREÑAS
Over three years, girls’ basketball head coach Gilbert Mascareñas developed a state championship contention basketball program at Peñasco High School.
The year before hiring Mascareñas, the Lady Panthers had a 9-16 record. After a single season of Mascareñas’s coaching, the team was 18-10, including 13 consecutive wins. They were the runners-up in the Northern Río Grande Championship, won their first-ever Cowbell Tournament Championship and earned a spot in the state tournament.
HOW CAN SO MUCH CHANGE OCCUR SO QUICKLY?
“It has to be fun,” he says. Whenever the subject comes up, he cites a love of the game as the thing that helps the athletes grow more than anything else. When they want to be there, when they want him to come and open the gym for them so they can practice, that’s when he knows he’s doing it right.
For both the 2017-2018 and 20182019 season, the Lady Panthers went undefeated in their district, 10-0 and 12-0 respectively, and were both district and district tournament champions. Both seasons Mascareñas’ peers chose him as District 5 Class
2A Coach of the Year.
In 2018 the Lady Panthers won the Northern Río Grande tournament and in 2019 they were the runners-up.
For 2018-2019, Coach Mascareñas was chosen to represent the Northeast as the coach of the Northeast team in the North-South All-Stars exhibition May 31 and June 1. Coach Mascareñas understands the importance of getting the girls to “all to bond together.” The Lady Panthers’ unselfish play took them to the 20172018 state tournament finals, where they were runners-up, and to the semifinals in their new, tougher Class 2A in 2018-2019.
“I know these girls,” he said after the tough loss to Pecos in the state semifinals. “When they’re on, they’re on.”
“I’m very proud of these girls,” he said. “They never gave up. They kept going. They kept going, and that’s all you can ask.” Not only has the varsity team excelled, finishing their 2019 season with a 26-4 record, an improvement over their already impressive 26-5 record the year before, but coach Mascareñas led his junior varsity team to a 15-0 undefeated season.
The Peñasco High School gym was packed for every home game, filled with blue and gold. Though they’re again a basketball school, next year they will be a basketball school without coach Mascareñas.
Peñasco Independent Schools chose to hire another coach for the Lady Panthers for the 2019-2020 season.