EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Vela girls basketball’s hot start behind senior guard Emma Lucio gives her the nod as Athlete of the Week.

Lucio and the Sabercats moved districts, now in District 31-5A. Vela won its former district last season. The senior guard being a major piece to the puzzle.

“She brings leadership,” said Lottie Zarate, Vela Girls Basketball Head Coach. “She brings high intensity in her gameplay, and then that encourages our girls to play at a higher level as well.”

Lucio made a huge announcement during the offseason. She signed her letter of intent to continue her basketball career at the University of Texas-San Antonio. 

With that out of the way, Lucio said she could put her focus back on her senior season.

While she has already earned countless accolades during her high school career, she has one more she wants.

“My main goal is to get MVP of the Valley,” said Lucio. “I’ve been working since last year to get that and I’m going to get it. I am working for it.”

However, that isn’t the only thing she has on her mind. Another district title is something Lucio has set her eyes on.

“We can handle the pressure that they’re gonna give us,” said Lucio. “We have a target now, but we’re not too worried. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing to get another district title.”

Lucio’s intensity on the floor is undeniable. Zarate said it “rubs off on the other girls, so they want to step up their game.”

However, off the floor, Lucio has another side to her.

“I’m gonna do whatever I can to get the win,” said Lucio. “But after the game ends, I’m nice and I’ll say hi, obviously, but I’m a funny, outgoing person. Everybody calls me Emma Joe.”

Vela only lost two seniors from last year’s team.

With a bunch of returners on the Sabercat squad, the expectation remains the same: a district title.

However, Zarate keeps her squad’s approach simple.

“We take one game at a time,” said Zarate. “You take one day at a time, and that’s what I tell the girls. We don’t want to just take it easy. No days off. That’s how I say it.”

Vela opened up its district schedule last night, Dec. 6, with a 91-3 win against PSJA Southwest.