December 30, 2021

By Greg Selber

Click here for select game photos

At this stage of the 31-6A hoops race, two city squads are holding firm near the top, the other two struggling to avoid falling further behind. Unfortunately for the latter pair, they face the former duo Friday.

It will be North going against EHS in the annual Grudge Match, with the Lady Cougars (1-4, 7-12) visiting the Lady Bobcats (5-1, 20-7), and Econ (1-4, 7-9) playing host to Vela (5-0, 22-2). After defeating the Lady Jags by 2 in the league opener, North has lost four in a row, and will seek to find scoring options beyond Jayli Rivera (11.1 ppg), who also paces the team in assists and steals. Zoey Gaytan (6.6 ppg) and Sam Aguilar (6.1) are the next leading pointmakers, while Briseidy Lerma tops the club in rebounding. The Lady Coogs have P-S-JA and Juarez-Lincoln on tap after the New Year’s Eve clash at EHS.

Meanwhile, Econ fell flat at Mission Tuesday, losing to the Lady Eagles, 62-36, and the defeat was distressing; Mission just could not miss from the floor and generally outhustled Econ from the start. The loss followed a season-best 76-point outburst by the Orange against hapless Lincoln in which Jasmine Loredo (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Dana Serna (18 and 12) were outstanding, Jaylene Corona went for 14 points, and Bianca Coronado led the defensive charge with six steals. Britzia Mancilla (14 points, 10 boards) was also sharp versus Lincoln but the team could not keep the momentum going at Mission. After Vela, the squad faces Pharr North on the road and La Joya at home before the rematch with North begins the season’s second half Jan. 11.

As for EHS, the Lady ‘Cats rebounded from the road loss at Vela to take out Pharr North, coming from behind in the second half to do so. Lucero Jimenez continued to contribute with 10 points in the W, while Maddy Martinez knocked in three bombs to give her 59 for the season. Then they edged past La Joya Wednesday.

Vela did a nice encore of the EHS win by taking down P-SJ-A, currently tied in the standings with EHS, for a 14-point result. The Lady Sabes had a match with Lincoln earlier in the week moved to next Monday, making for a busy stretch: aside from Lincoln, they’ll oppose Mission and Pharr North in the coming five-day portion of the slate. EHS has a huge date looming, against the Lady Bears Jan. 7, and that matchup has huge implications all around.

For playoff watchers out there, the District 32-6A race is just getting going, with Harlingen, Weslaco, and upstart San Benito off to 2-0 starts, Los Fresnos and Harlingen South at 1-1. Harlingen and Weslaco will play Friday in an early clash that will help flesh out the contours of the scramble. South is at San Benito that day as well.

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