Lady Panthers snap San Benito’s 4-game win streak

SAN BENITO — Weslaco High girls basketball coach Griselda Fino and the Lady Panthers got a 40-27 victory over the San Benito Lady Greyhounds on Friday night. However, it wasn’t the type of victory the Lady Panthers will feel good about heading into their final game of the regular season against Los Fresnos on Tuesday.

The victory was the 11th consecutive win for the Lady Panthers and, by doing so, clinched a share of the District 32-6A title.

“We’re glad that it’s over and we’re glad that we are walking out of here with the W,” said Fino. “But I’m disappointed in the way that we played. I guess you’re going to have games like that, but I’m just upset that it’s happening so late in the (season).

“I think it was just a matter of lack of focus for us in that first half. We were prepared, we just weren’t mentally focused.”

Both the Lady Panthers and the Lady ’Hounds were offensively unproductive in the first half. Weslaco managed to outscore San Benito 9-2 in the first quarter and 4-3 in the second.

Weslaco’s leading scorer, Briana Pena, scored five of her game-high 16 points in the first half with teammate Emily Saenz adding 11 points.

“It was a wakeup call at halftime,” said Fino. “I told them to either wake up or they were going to find themselves in a hole that couldn’t get out of.

“I wish I could say that we woke up, but I don’t think that we did. I think we partially woke up and I think that helped carry us into the fourth quarter.”

After holding a 13-5 halftime lead, the Lady Panthers began the third period by breaking out on an 8-2 run that helped push the lead to 21-7.

Saenz hit a three pointer for Weslaco with 2:02 remaining in the third before Gabriella Garza closed out the quarter with a basket to put the Lady Panthers up 29-12 heading into the fourth. Garza finished the game with eight points.

After trailing by as many as 19 points in the fourth, San Benito’s Emily Barraza hit a three pointer to get the crowd back into the game. The basket capped an 11-3 scoring run that cut the deficit to 11 points with 2:13 remaining in the game. But that was the closest San Benito got as Weslaco added six late points to put the game out of reach.

“I think on defense we did OK, but offensively we didn’t match their intensity,” said San Benito head coach AbelMoreno Jr.

The loss puts the Lady ’Hounds at 7-5 in conference play and one game ahead of Los Fresnos for fourth place heading into their final game against Harlingen on Tuesday.