ALL BOYS’ TEAMS LOSE TUESDAY
WESLACO – Sometimes it just isn’t there, for whatever reason, the possibles ranging from poor play to bad luck and/or a great performance by the opponent. Check all those boxes here Tuesday as EHS was dominated by the Pantherettes of Weslaco.
The 60-50 final score was deceiving because in the third match of the non-district season between these powerful clubs, Weslaco (16-4) mastered every aspect to defeat the Lady Bobcats (16-6) for the second time. They crashed the offensive boards with regularity, passed and moved with quickness and effect, and never trailed after the early stretches. Weslaco also defended with force, leaving the Lady ‘Cats struggling to find decent shots.
The result was not unexpected, as Weslaco has been the cream of the Valley crop for several seasons. But the manner in which it happened – with listless EHS down by 16 at several junctures in the second half – was surprising.
From the start, Weslaco had more energy, jetting to a 10-5 advantage, tilting the court on the visitor with dribble-drive penetration and sharp interior passing.
Freshman A’nnika Saenz canned a 3 early and then drove for another basket as Edinburg sought the momentum. When they fell down by 6, junior Jenessah Santa Maria – sick with the flu last week, curtailing her tournament contributions - sank a three-pointer.
Holding for the last shot down 4, the Lady ‘Cats experienced the wrong sort of luck as Santa Maria’s bomb rolled in and out, at the horn. At least five times in the half, shots had looked promising, only to go astray, and EHS was happy to still be in the mix by the break.
Foul trouble started to erode the Red and Blue charge in the third, unfriendly whistles mounting as the Lady ‘Cats tried to slow down the frenetic attackers from Weslaco. After a 12-2 run against, Coach J.D. Salinas and his frustrated team had to make a stand now, down 36-22. The run came courtesy of a Santa Maria 3, a lay up from freshman Daysha Tijerina, and a steal and hoop from a D that was, unusually, not overly aggressive Tuesday. Santa Maria, who finished with 15 points, scored on a tough drive but the Pantherettes sailed away then, to lead by 14 after three.
Jayla Santa Maria, the senior leading the team in scoring and rebounding, experienced a difficult night on the road, making just 4 of 15 shots from the floor. She compensated with hard forays to the dish and made all eight free throws in the fourth. The Lady ‘Cats rallied to within 8 at 50-42 but could get no closer as Weslaco worked the semi-delay for three easy hoops at the rim and pulled away for good. Jayla Santa Maria ended with 19 points and 11 rebounds, Saenz adding 10 and nine.
But overall it was not a good show, after the team had split with the Pantherettes earlier in the campaign.
EHS then lost a double OT thriller at Harlingen Friday to drop to 16-7 pending the district opener Dec. 15 against Econ. North clobbered Edcouch-Elsa Friday on the road while Vela (14-5) lost a second game for the week, following a 1-poiint debit against Harlingen South Tuesday with a defeat suffered against San Benito Friday.
Tuesday was a bummer for town teams as all four went down to defeat. Vela was clipped by 7 at McAllen despite a career-high 17 points from sophomore Bobby Espericueta, while EHS was throttled at home by Laredo Martin, 76-40, after being outscored 28-12 in the second period. North was also hammered on its home court, 91-66 by Los Fresnos with Izaiah Rangel getting 20 for the Coogs. And the Jags dropped a heartbreaker out east against La Joya, 49-47, when a 2-point lead after three did not hold up.
The Coogs then went to the Hidalgo Tourney and went 1-3 the first two days, losing a close one to Harlingen South by 4 Friday after beating La Joya Thursday.
Vela rebounded with a road victory at Brownsville Vets, with EHS idle and Econ making the consolation final at the C.E. Vail before being derailed by Mercedes. Angel Salinas and Pete Segura were named All-Tourney.
The SaberCats were set to host Rowe Tuesday while the Bobcats are off until a weekend tourney in Pharr Dec. 14-16. They take on Palmview at home Dec. 19. The Jags would travel to Laredo Tuesday to face LBJ and then compete at the Rowe Tournament over the weekend along with North.