Rio Sports Live

Lady Cards top Lady Panthers, seize control in 32-6A

Harlingen’s Sydney Portillo, left, and Weslaco’s Raemie Media, right, race for a loose ball.
(Photo by Andrew Cordero / Special to RSL

By KEVIN NARRO | Rio Sports Live

WESLACO — After waiting two weeks to square off against each other, Harlingen High’s and Weslaco High’s battle for first place in District 32-6As battle for first place in 32-6A did not disappoint.

The Lady Cards overcame a sluggish start in the first half and leaned on Rosa Zapata and Avery Hinojosa, who fueled a strong third quarter in a 54-45 win over the Lady Panthers on Thursday night at Weslaco High.

Harlingen High improved to 6-0 in 32-6A play (14-2 overall) and is now alone atop the district standings, while the loss drops Weslaco High in to second place with a 5-1 (11-3 overall) record.

“This was a physical game, but we were able to pick up the intensity,” Hinojosa said. “We should have started stronger, but we were able to fix it. We turned things around by communicating and (playing) defense. Our defense was the key to everything tonight.”    

Hinojosa led the offense with a team-high 22 points, while Zapata added 10 more in the win.

The Lady Cards overcame a 12-point deficit and turned the tide in the final minutes of the second quarter, fueled by a three-point shot and a layup from Hinojosa, which trimmed the lead to 25-20 at the time. The Lady Panthers, however, led 27-21 at the half. 

 “We went in at halftime and we talked about it and I’m the type to where I trust my players,” Harlingen High head coach Ashley Monciviaz said. “My players were the ones that said they were ready to go. The last two minutes of the second quarter, we knew we could take charge and compete.” 

In the third quarter, Harlingen High buckled down and outscored Weslaco High 20-5. Leading the run was Zapata, who zipped through the Lady Panther defense on back-to-back possessions to give the Lady Cards a 32-31 lead with 4:23 left in the third quarter.

It was a lead Harlingen High would not surrender for the rest of the night.

Hinojosa chipped in with eight third quarter points along with Zapata who scored six in the period. 

“I felt we were now being aggressive,” Moncivaiz said. “By her attacking, it made a difference. At first, we were more cautious, but in the second half we were more aggressive and executed at the rim.”    

Thursday was the second game back for Weslaco High, which had been on the shelf for almost three weeks due to Covid-19. Despite the lack of games, the Lady Panthers controlled the first half with defense and strong rebounding. 

The Lady Panthers led 25-13 — their biggest lead of the night — with two minutes left in the first half.

Weslaco High’s Morgan Peralez caused fits in the paint for Harlingen High, recording seven first-half points.

“First and foremost, I’m so proud of my kids,” Weslaco High head coach Griselda Fino said. “We had back-to-back quarantines. We are probably the only ballclub who had to do that. We hadn’t played basketball in almost 20 days; not even a practice. So for them to come out and give us everything, I’m proud.” 

Weslaco High will now continue its onslaught of games with Los Fresnos on Saturday and Brownsville Rivera on Monday.

“We play four consecutive games with a day off in between but we be fine, ” Fino said. “We will adjust and the kids are learning to get their legs back under them after the long delay.”     
The Lady Panthers were led by Melanie Carrion, who scored a game-high 26 points, while teammate Peralez finished with eight points.  

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