Hawks, Cardinals set for battle on the basketball court

HARLIGNEN — The Harlingen Cardinals certainly gained some momentum with their first District 32-6A victory this past Friday over the San Benito Greyhounds. They will now look to build off that win when they face crosstown rival Harlingen South tonight at 7:30 at the Hawks gym.

The Cardinals (10-11, 1-4) had been without head coach Greg Yates for the first quarter of the season and have struggled in that time against some of District 32-6A’s cream of the crop.

But after facing teams like Los Fresnos, Weslaco and Weslaco East, the youth of this Cardinals team has grown up and hopes to get better now that Yates is back.

Sophomore point guard Michael Arellano, who can strike from anywhere on the court, lit up the scoreboard against San Benito, scoring a season-high 25 points.

Meanwhile, teammates Matthew Sesler, Reece Ortega, Jeremy Vasquez and Riley Sauceda have been consistent contributors this season and are improving with every passing game.

As for the Hawks, they are coming off an impressive 56-46 win over Brownsville Rivera that helped soothe a tough loss to Weslaco East prior.

The Green Birds are currently 3-2 in district play behind league-leading Weslaco, who they lost to on Jan. 7, and second-place Los Fresnos, who they play on Friday to close out the first half of conference play.

The Hawks are led by junior point guard Aaron Briones, who controls the surge of offense, and Brandon Bennett, who takes charge down low in the paint.

Despite their records, Bird Bowl is always a highly anticipated matchup because it delivers the bragging rights as to who’s the better team in the city.

Both teams can shoot from the perimeter and match up fairly well across the board with their height.

So far the Hawks have ruled the series in recent years, notching wins in the past six meetings against the Cards. The Red Birds have not won, in fact, since 2012.