Late rally lifts Lady Hounds past Weslaco in OT

WESLACO — For the second time this season, San Benito and Weslaco battled to the bitter end.

Much like their first matchup, the Lady Greyhounds rallied in the final quarter only this time it took overtime to decide a winner.

Hailey Lopez had ice in her veins with a 3-pointer that gave the Lady Hounds a five-point lead in OT. The three ball helped spark a 7-0 run that put the game on ice as San Benito completed the season sweep against Weslaco with a 49-45 win on Friday night.

Lopez was held scoreless for the first three quarters until the final period. She finished with nine points with all of them coming from beyond the arc and at key moments.

“That was the biggest shot of my career so far,” Lopez said of her game winner. “We have worked so hard and I’m so happy we won. We finally got it. Sweeping Weslaco is an amazing feeling. We were down but we never quit. We knew we could come back because we have done it before.”

Trailing 41-33 with two minutes left in the game, it looked as if Weslaco was going to seal the win and claim a share of the District 32-6A title. But San Benito had other ideas as Mikayla Garcia brought the Lady Hounds back and tied the game at 41-all with 30 seconds left.

With the victory, San Benito, Harlingen and Weslaco are all tied for first place in the league at 11-2 and will need the final game of the season on Tuesday to decide a district winner. Weslaco is at Los Fresnos while San Benito plays at Harlingen High.

“The most important thing was to stay positive and keep fighting,” said San Benito coach Abel Moreno. “At the end of the day, win or lose, we gave it all we had. I told our girls we deserve to win and win a district title, and the girls showed up to play.”

Friday’s win wasn’t easy for the Lady Hounds. They fell behind early in the first half 29-23 and trailed at the half. The Lady Panthers got a strong effort from Illiyah Cantu, who scored a game high 19 points.

Weslaco let an eight-point lead slip away in the final minutes and couldn’t capitalize offensively in the final minutes of overtime.

Mikalya Garcia once again played a vital role in the Lady Hounds’ success. A week ago against Harlingen South, San Benito looked to Garcia to step up and the senior delivered. Garcia displayed her senior leadership and scored a team high 13 points.

“Coach Moreno wanted us to keep pushing and we believed in ourselves that we could win,” Garcia said. “When Hailey made that 3-pointer it gave us so much momentum, we knew we had what we wanted and we finished strong.

“We feed off of each other’s energy. Now that we’re that much closer to a district title, it’s crazy because this is something we have always wanted and dreamed of.”