HARLINGEN — In sports, playing on the road is always tough. In basketball, the home crowd can make a difference. At Harlingen South, the home crowd was rocking, led by their umbrella-popping student section.
Chanz Love fed of off that home crowd buzz and netted 20 points to help guide the Hawks to their second consecutive win, 63-48 over San Benito.
“We fed off their energy,” Love said. It’s great to have the support of our fans, they make it fun. Tonight was a big one for us going forward. It is definitely one of the more physical games we have played in this year.”
In their last meeting, San Benito would not go down quietly and forced double overtime. This time around, the Hounds started the game hot by taking an early 8-2 lead, only to be answered by Aaron Briones and Love’s hot shooting from beyond the arc.
In the second quarter, the momentum shifted in South’s favor behind a 13-2 run that shot the Hawks ahead 22-13. In that run Briones hit a pair of threes along with Love and some key buckets by Grant Lowery.
“It’s tough to beat the same team twice, especially a team like San Benito, which brings back a lot of experience,” said Harlingen South coach Brian Molina. “They don’t get enough credit. They’re a great basketball team. We had to fight for every point tonight, my hat’s off to San Benito.
“We tried to take away the paint and that hurt us the first time, and they did a good job in the paint tonight in the first quarter. We tried to neutralize that as much as we could. They’re a physical team and I thought we did a good job adjusting at the half.”
Briones, who had been in a funk the last few games, broke out with a game high 24 points and found his form knocking down three balls and finding the lane.
Lowery also found his form with a 16-point performance. 11 of those points came in the third quarter while knocking down three, three pointers.
“Aaron hit some big shots for us in the second quarter and that sent us into the half feeling good and we saw that momentum carry over into the second half,” Molina said. “We learned from the last time we played San Benito that no lead is safe, so I thought the kids came out in the second half and finished the job.”