Special to the NEWS
By Celeste Lopez
RIO HONDO–At only 14 years old, Eliza Rodriguez is putting in the work to build a career on the basketball court.
Just after roughly three years of training with the RGV Lady Lakers and playing with her middle school’s teams, Rodriguez has secured a spot as the only freshman player on the girls’ varsity basketball team in Rio Hondo this year.
The Lady ‘Cats are currently 9-2 in district 32-4A (25-6 overall) and as a member of the team, Rodriguez earned some individual awards in late 2019.
Those awards included tournament MVP at the La Feria Wiseman Tournament and all-tourney in the Los Fresnos Holiday Hoops tournament.
Rodriguez credits her success to the people that have helped hone her skills and inspired her to work hard over the years.
“Playing with the Lady Lakers helped me in a lot of ways,” she said. “My coach [Polo Sanchez] helped me strengthen my fundamentals, and playing with older and more experienced girls also challenged me to try harder.”
She continues to learn from more experienced athletes playing with the Lady ‘Cats, including two of her Lady Laker teammates: Ayisha Andrews and Estrella Garza.
Rodriguez is also inspired to work hard because of the support she gets from her family.
“My dad [Charles Rodriguez] has always wanted me to work hard and be the best that I can no matter what I choose to do,” she said. “What he expects from me pushes me to work hard.”
For her, this opportunity is further paving the road toward her post-high school goals as a student and an athlete.
“My goal right now is to work hard enough to earn a scholarship and play basketball at a school like Texas Christian University,” she said.