HARLINGEN — There were plenty of smiles to go around Tuesday evening at the Harlingen South gymnasium. Unfortunately for the Harlingen South Lady Hawks, those smiles didn’t emanate from them but instead the crosstown rival Harlingen High Lady Cardinals.
One year after the Lady Hawks stunned Harlingen in their district opener, the Lady Cardinals got a bit of a payback by defeating the Lady Hawks 58-42 to mark the start of the 2017 District 32-6A schedule.
“This was an important game because you always want to start off with a district win and go in with the right mindset,” said Harlingen head coach Ashley Moncivaiz. “The first half was a slow-paced game because we were putting them on the line, but in the second half we played better defense, and made some stops and when we did we were able to execute and pick up the pace.”
After a slow 8-5 start to the game, Harlingen’s offense got going and opened up a 22-15 lead heading into the half. But it was in the fourth quarter that the Lady Cardinals ramped up the defense. After Harlingen South star Karla Reyes nailed two crucial free throws with 6:02 in the fourth that cut Harlingen’s lead to 10, the Lady Cardinals quickly went on an 11-0 run to open up 51-30 lead with 3:54 left in the game.
With just under four minutes left in the contest, the wind was sucked out of the Harlingen South gymnasium when Karla Reyes limped off the court in pain. She returned a few minutes later to hit a three pointer, however Reyes left the game again a few seconds later for good. Reyes finished with a game high 18 points going 10 of 12 from the line. Teammates Laura Ramirez and Cameron Del Angel each added six points a piece.
With the win, Harlingen improved to 17-6 overall and 1-0 in district. Taegan Dickey had a stellar outing with a team high 17 points. Teammate Nadia Flores was just behind adding 14 points on the night.
“It was just the effort in our defense to put the pressure on them because once we were able to put the pressure we were able to go out there and finish,” said Moncivaiz. “In the first half it was very slow putting and we kept putting them on the line and we weren’t able to get in a grove so we were very flat.
“One of the things I told them at the half is that they are playing for each other and not for anybody else but the team. Especially after last Friday we learned our lesson about going out there and playing the wrong defense.”
Next up, Harlingen will host BrownsvilleRivera on Friday while Harlingen South travels to Los Fresnos.