Late bucket allows Weslaco to slip past Lady Cardinals 44-42

WESLACO — In a battle between a pair of basketball heavyweights, Weslaco High and Harlingen High did battle for the first time in District 32-6A play this season on Tuesday, and the contest did not disappoint.

Bree Pena’s floater gave Weslaco a 43-42 lead with 40 seconds left and proved to be the clincher as the Lady Panthers won 44-42.

Weslaco upped their record to 3-0 in league play (21-4 overall) while Harlingen fell to 2-1 (18-7 overall). Weslaco will now shift its focus to Laredo United South on Dec. 30 while the Lady Cards don’t play against until the new year.

“It was a great game, but this district is going to be full of great games,” said Weslaco coach Griselda Fino. “I tip my hat to Harlingen, They played great on the road and I’m looking forward to the rest of our district and round two against them.”

In the third quarter, Harlingen got some strong play from its offense, especially from Alyssa Cervantes, who scored nine points in the quarter. Heading into the fourth quarter, Weslaco trailed 38-32.

But in the final period, Weslaco made adjustments and fed off of its stars Pena and Emily Saenz. Pena scored a quick four points to give Weslaco a 40-38 lead late in the game. She finished the contest with a game high 16 points while Saenz had 12.

“We have a great set of kids, especially with our senior captains in Bree and Emily,” Fino said. “We have been in a hole before and the kids know how to respond. Tonight we found a way to fight back and this is where all the hard work pays off, and they came out and did it one point at a time.”

The Lady Cards had plenty of opportunities slip through their fingers, but none was bigger than a missed jumper by Nadia Flores with 2.5 seconds left that would have given Harlingen the lead.

“From the third quarter to the fourth, we let up and were not as aggressive to the basket as we were in the third quarter, and that’s what changed for us,” said Harlingen head coach Ashley Moncivaiz. “We need to keep working and get better because in this district it’s going to be tough, and we need to be prepared each night.”

In the loss, Flores scored 12 points while Cervantes led the way with 15.

The Lady Cards will now have their winter break and will hit the court against Weslaco East at home on Jan. 2.