SAN BENITO — Free throws are as good as gold in basketball and Harlingen’s Taegan Dickey knows that all too well.
In Tuesday night’s electrifying Battle of the Arroyo, the sophomore calmly walked up to the charity line and sank two crucial free throws with just over a minute remaining in the game to help the Lady Cardinals defeat the San Benito Lady Greyhounds 47-40. The win helped the Lady Cards secure the second playoff seed out of District 32-6A.
Dickey finished the night with 10 points and seven rebounds, going 6 of 8 from the free-throw line.
The Lady Cardinals finished the fourth quarter scoring 15 of the team’s 17 points from the stripe. In total the team reached the line 24 times in the final period alone.
“I didn’t want to let my team down if I didn’t make them,” said Dickey. “We practice free throws a lot and we have consequences if we miss them.
“Coach (Ashley) Moncivaiz told us that we needed to be prepared because it’s a whole different atmosphere here (at San Benito). I was nervous but it made me feel like I needed to step up for my team and help them out as much as I could.”
In the playoffs, Harlingen will face PSJA Memorial next week at a sight yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, despite the loss, which was the Lady ’Hounds’ second in row, they managed to clinch the No. 4 seed and will now face either Edinburg High or Edinburg Vela in the first round.
After a tied 30-30 third quarter, Harlingen came out on a 10-2 run to start the fourth period. Arial Leal, Alyssa Cervantes and Andrea Cortez sank eight free throws to give Harlingen a comfortable 40-32 lead midway through the fourth.
“I was telling them to be smart and don’t force anything,” said Harlingen head coach Ashley Moncivaiz. “We were trying to rush when we had no numbers so I had to tell them to be patient and get a good shot.”
The Lady ’Hounds, however, had different plans. San Benito’s MirandaVallejo, Emilee Barraza and Mikayla Garcia each hit shots to cut Harlingen’s lead to 40-38 with just under two minutes remaining in the contest.
Harlingen’s patience paid off down the stretch as Dickey went 4 of 6 from the free-throw line to put the game out of reach.
For Harlingen, Nadia Flores led the team with 15 points. Meanwhile, Vallejo led San Benito with 12 points and Arlene Lucero added 10.