District play tips off tonight in 32-6A with defending district champion Harlingen High hosting San Benito, Harlingen South traveling to Los Fresnos and Brownsville Rivera playing at Hanna.
With an eight-team district, South’s meeting with Los Fresnos will give a leg up to the winner as both teams are projected to make the playoffs.
Last year, South went 7-3 in district play and finished second in league play behind Harlingen High, who went 10-0, Los Fresnos, meanwhile, finished 6-4.
The Lady Hawks swept the Lady Falcons in district play last year, but this year, Los Fresnos is expected to challenge South with their size and athleticism.
“Harlingen South is always a very intense team with a lot of effort,” said Los Fresnos coach Rebecca Valdez. “We need to make sure we match their intensity and execute under pressure situations. It is great to start district play with a win; it sets the tone for the rest of district play. South is a great team and beating them would be a great way to start district (season)”
The Lady Hawks are a senior-heavy club and have the pieces in play to contend for the district title. This year, South has relied on their defensive play from Allyah Guevara, Bianca Gonzalez and Julia Celis.
“It seems like district play got here quick but we have been going for the last two months,” said South coach Kelly Garrett. “It has been a long journey but this is what it has built up to — this is what it is all about.”
South hasn’t played in a game since December 31 and is itching to get back onto the court. Two senior mainstays Laura Ramirez and Karla Reyes will be key pieces on offense for the Lady Hawks.
“We have been working on our offense and working on our shooting,” Garrett said. “We have been known as a defensive team but we want to be more constant for four quarters and be able to put the ball in more on a constant basis.”
Reigning district champ Harlingen High is 20-7 and remains the favorite to win district 32-6A.
Big Red is led by their young core of Avery Hinojosa, Alexus Coto and Rosa Zapata. Harlingen High heads into district play on a two-game win streak and is 7-3 in its last 10 games.
In district 32-2A, Santa Maria will travel to San Perlita to tipoff district play at 6:30 p.m. The Lady Cougars are 17-5 on the year and enter district play as the favorites to hoist a third straight district title. San Perlita enters league play with a 10-9 record.
The Lady Coogs are led by junior Yazmin Cantu, who is averaging 18.2 points per game. San Perlita is led by senior Meagan Kinney, who is averaging 15 points and five steals per game during her senior campaign.
San Perlita, like Santa Maria, has a majority of their team returning. Despite being just one game over the .500 mark, Lady Trojans coach Marco Mungia believes his team is on the cusp of peaking and playing well at the right time.
“Our record doesn’t indicate how well we have been playing,” Mungia said.
This year the team took on the challenge of playing bigger schools in, Brownsville Porter, Lopez, Hanna and San Benito.
“Outside of our loss against Santa Gertrudis, we have played teams tough, and up until now, I hadn’t had a complete team,” Mungia said. “I was missing girls with injuries, so I have had kids come in and fill in but I’m excited that I am going to have 100 percent of my team heading into district and I’m excited to see what happens.”