MISSION — Andalusia, Alabama, may be a small town located in one of the southernmost counties in the state, but it means the most to All-Valley Sports Awards Banquet keynote speaker Robert Horry.

“When people say, ‘It takes a village to raise a person,’ Andalusia was like a village,” Horry said. “Everybody was a parent. It was great, because it kept a lot of kids in line and out of trouble.”

Horry earned a scholarship to play college basketball at Alabama for legendary head coach Wimp Sanderson.

“Wimp was the type of guy who put the onus on all of his players to perform and be their own leader,” Horry said. “He allowed you to have the maturity and the sense to know when to take care of your teammates and when to take care of yourself.”

Even as the No. 1 scoring option for the Crimson Tide, Horry stepped on campus with intention of earning a degree and becoming a math teacher. Horry’s mindset changed following a season-ending loss in the 1990 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament during his sophomore season.

“One of our guys told me that a magazine had just come out and named me one of the top 10 small forwards in the country,” Horry said. “Most of the guys that make that list are either juniors or seniors and here I was, a sophomore.

“My whole focus just changed. I worked on my game more, cut back on my social life and kept up with my studies, and it worked out.”

Sixteen years in the NBA and seven NBA championships later, Horry has become one of the more recognized role players in league history, known for his penchant of making important shots in critical moments.

“People like to say to me, ‘Well, you didn’t score a lot of points.’ That was because I didn’t have to score a lot, not because I couldn’t,” Horry said. “I filled a void for a lot of teams. I look back on my career and think, ‘I could have been one of those selfish guys,’ but I know if I did, it would mess up the continuity of our team. I had to do what was best for the team.”

Horry was more than happy to offer his experiences to the athletes at the 2017 All-Valley Sports Awards Banquet, hosted by RGVSports.com and AIM Media Texas in conjunction with the RGV Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

“I’m excited to pass on my knowledge to the younger athletes,” Horry said. “A young man asked me for some advice and I told him, ‘When you think you’re working hard, work even harder.’ That doesn’t mean pushing yourself to the brink of death, but just enough to say, ‘I put in some hard work today.’”

The Banquet featured 98 athletes, coaches and teams vying for 32 awards.

Key individual winners include PSJA High’s Trey Guajardo, who captured Class 6A Male Athlete of the Year following a freshman campaign where he played baseball and, most notably, started at quarterback and threw for 1,323 yards and 11 TDs while also running for 1,009 yards and 10 TDs. Class 6A Female Athlete of the Year was Los Fresnos soccer senior Tanya Prazelini, who scored a Valley all-time record 68 goals in 2017.

Sub-Class 6A Female Athlete of the Year honors went to Brownsville Veterans senior basketball player Jordan Rudd, who averaged 14.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 5.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per game this past season. Mission Veterans quarterback Diego Hernandez was named the Sub-Class 6A Male Athlete of the Year after throwing for 4,175 yards and 45 touchdown passes.

 

2017 All-Valley Awards Banquet

 

Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year

>> Daniel De La Cruz, Donna North

Brandon Gracia, Rio Grande City

Tristan Pena, Edinburg North

 

Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year 

Beth Ramos, Edinburg North

>> Brianna Robles, La Joya Palmview

Tina Sierra, La Feria

 

Volleyball Player of the Year

>> Jackie Kingsbury, Los Fresnos

Taylor Marburger, McAllen Memorial

Julia Monday, McAllen High

 

Football Player of the Year

>> Diego Hernandez, Mission Veterans

Roy Pedraza, Weslaco East

Omar Silva, Port Isabel

 

Girls Basketball Player of the Year

Brianna Pena, Weslaco High

>> Jordan Rudd, Brownsville Veterans

Jayla Santa Maria, Edinburg High

 

Boys Basketball Player of the Year

Ryan Garza, Edinburg Vela

>> Leo Lara, Santa Rosa

Aaron Villarreal, Brownsville Veterans Memorial

 

Boys Soccer Player of the Year

Manuel Castrejon, La Joya Juarez-Lincoln

>> Jose Echavarria, Brownsville Lopez

Hugo Guajardo, Progreso

 

Girls Soccer Player of the Year

Krysta Armstrong, Edinburg Economedes

Anna Hover, McAllen High

>> Tanya Prazelini, Los Fresnos

 

Boys Tennis Player of the Year

Joaquin Delgado, Sharyland Pioneer

Nick Martinez, Lyford

>> Jack Wang, McAllen Memorial

 

Girls Tennis Player of the Year

Grace Bell, Harlingen South

>> Chantel Lozano, Roma

Valeria Montero, Harlingen South

 

Boys Golfer of the Year

James Alfaro, Raymondville

Santiago Garcia, Brownsville Hanna

>> Jun Min Lee, Sharyland High

 

Girls Golfer of the Year

>> Julie Lucio, Brownsville Veterans

Isabel Prado, La Feria

Laura Rodriguez, Sharyland High

 

Boys Swimmer of the Year

>> Shaine Casas, McAllen High

Trevor Heath, Sharyland Pioneer

Luis Osuna, Los Fresnos

 

Girls Swimmer of the Year

Hannah Bradford, McAllen Memorial

>> Maya Athena Imperial, Brownsville Hanna

Ina Te, McAllen Rowe

 

Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year

>> Sydney Mock, Port Isabel

Tristan Pena, Edinburg North

Joseph Ian Torres, Port Isabel

Jordan Wilson, Sharyland Pioneer

 

Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year

Beth Ramos, Edinburg North

Brianna Robles, La Joya Palmview

Tina Sierra, La Feria

>> Valery Tobias, Edinburg IDEA Quest

 

Boys Wrestler of the Year

>> Guadalupe Rodriguez, Mission High

Diego Serna, Sharyland Pioneer

Dillion Toavalu, Edinburg North

 

Girls Wrestler of the Year

Alexis Altamira, Edinburg Vela

>> Amanda Alvarado, McAllen Memorial

Rose Ramirez, La Joya High

 

Class 6A Female Athlete of the Year

Taylor Marburger, McAllen Memorial

Jaida Muhammad, Edinburg Vela

>> Tanya Prazelini, Los Fresnos

 

Sub-6A Female Athlete of the Year

Jackie Howell, Mission Veterans

>> Jordan Rudd, Brownsville Veterans

Tina Sierra, La Feria

 

Class 6A Male Athlete of the Year

Adrian Bernal, McAllen Rowe

>> Trey Guajardo, PSJA High

Tristan Myende, La Joya Palmview

 

Sub-6A Male Athlete of the Year

>> Diego Hernandez, Mission Veterans

Leo Lara, Santa Rosa

Omar Silva, Port Isabel

 

Softball Player of the Year

Mia Anzaldua, Brownsville Veterans

>> Audrey Escamilla, Weslaco High

Amber Reyes, Edinburg High

 

Baseball Player of the Year

Saul Garza, Edinburg North

Noe Guerrero, Brownsville Hanna

>> Noel Vela, Mission Veterans

 

Class 6A Girls Team of the Year

>> Los Fresnos Soccer 

McAllen High soccer

Weslaco High girls basketball

 

Sub-6A Girls Team of the Year

Brownsville Veterans Memorial basketball

>> Brownsville Veterans Memorial golf

Brownsville Veterans Memorial softball

 

Class 6A Boys Team of the Year

>> La Joya Juarez-Lincoln soccer

Weslaco East football

Weslaco High basketball

 

Sub-6A Boys Team of the Year

>> Brownsville Lopez soccer

Progreso soccer

Santa Rosa Basketball

 

Boys Coach of the Year

>> Johnny Cipriano, Santa Rosa basketball

Amadeo Escandon, Brownsville Lopez soccer

Margarito Jimenez, Progreso soccer

 

Girls Coach of the Year

Rayner Cardenas, Brownsville Veterans softball

Mario Rodriguez, Weslaco High softball

>> Peter A Rodriguez, Brownsville Rivera soccer

 

Class 6A Program of the Year

Edinburg Vela

McAllen High

>> Weslaco High

 

Sub-6A Program of the Year

>> Brownsville Veterans

La Feria

Mission Veterans