SAN BENITO — An electric atmosphere awaited the Harlingen Lady Cardinals to the Lady Greyhounds gymnasium as the San Benito Lady Hounds hosted the first installment of this season’s Battle of the Arroyo.
After knocking off Weslaco on Tuesday with a spectacular buzzer-beater, it took another memorable shot to separate the two teams. Unfortunately for the Lady Hounds, it was Harlingen standout Nadia Flores who provided the late-game heroics as the Lady Cardinals walked away with a 51-43 victory over San Benito Friday evening.
“We played well and we really had each others back, and running what we needed to run,” said Harlingen head coach Ashley Moncivaiz. “You can’t always plan for what is going to happen but tonight the team went out there and played as a unit, and you can see that they didn’t stop playing and they didn’t have a letdown because I trust them. When San Benito made a three pointer to tie it up we could have given up, had a letdown and fallen apart but we kept fighting and kept going.”
With Harlingen up by one point at 44-43 with 52 seconds remaining in the game, Flores hit a crucial shot from beyond the arc while getting fouled to lift the Lady Cardinal contingency on its feet. Flores made the free throw to give Harlingen some breathing room at 48-43 with under a minute remaining. Flores finished the game with a game high 24 points.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates,” said Flores after the game. “I told the team it was our game before it started and it was our game in the end because we played as a unit and it’s all about sisterhood now.
“This win gives us confidence because we need to come out to every game humble and be ready the whole way.”
Other standout players for Harlingen were Ariel Leal, who finished the game with 11 points, while teammate Taegan Dickey also finished the contest with 11.
For San Benito, Haley Lopez began the night on fire hitting three 3-pointers in the first half but it was her fourth 3-pointer of the night that tied the game at 42-42 with 2:50 remaining in the contest. Arlene Lucero added three points in the final moments, but it was too little too late as Harlingen’s defense clamped down.
Lopez finished the night with 12 points, teammate EmileeBarraza finished with 10 points while Miranda Vallejo netted seven points.
The win put Harlingen, San Benito and Weslaco High at 6-1 and in a three-way tie for first place in District 32-6A.
“I’m very proud of the way that the girls played because they responded,” said San Benito Abel Moreno. “The score may not reflect what really happened at the end because we had some fouls that put them on the line.
“I told the girls all we’ve got to do is fix the little things that we did wrong. But I loved the game and I thought it was a very competitive game, and we were in it until the very end.”