You would’ve thought it was a playoff game, where it’s win or go home. It was a match up between unbeaten teams, Edinburg Bobcats and the Harlingen Cardinals, both 6-0. This was the last game of the first half of district play. With both teams having playoff experience and rosters with All-district players, it was any teams game tonight. The rivalry between these two ball clubs has become a much anticipated meetings over the past several years. Last year Edinburg was undefeated in district31-5A until their last and final game of district play when the Cardinals upset the Bobcats 73-68. Last year Edinburg won its fourth straight district title and is hoping to continue the tradition again this year. The Cardinals, with much enthusiasm, took the floor ready to take that crown away and pull another victory out of their magic hat.
The first half went rather quickly with the basketball going from one side of the court to the other. Both teams showed great defense and shots were flying. Final for the first quarter was 21-17 in favor of the Bobcats. Mack Sanchez started the second quarter with a 3-ptr. and a shot block and used this to spark a small lead for the Cardinals, 24-23. Edinburg returned fire with several key shots quickly overturning the score to lead 32-26 with 3:32 left in the first half. The Cardinal Crush defense was sounding symphonic as all you could hear were the squeaks of sneakers all over the court. This sweet sound didn’t phase the Bobcats as they continued to put up points with a successful ‘and 1’ play and a quick two by #3 Stevan Guerrero. Harlingen’s M. Sanchez fired back with another long range three, making the halftime score 36-33, with Edinburg leading.
Mack Sanchez, Sr. Guard
photo courtesy of rgvsports.com
Harlingen began the 3rd quarter strong with Alejandro Pallares going straight to the hole and converting on two free throws. Pallares was showing his vertical height hitting several 10 foot jumpers while driving and playing strong under the basket. Cardinal point guard, Jonathan Sanchez also showed off a little of his ball handling skills. Right or left, he was taking his defender one-on-one to the bucket. Both teams were playing an excellent transition game, while at the same time being smart to set up and execute plays. Both teams were scoring as key players (Edinburg: Steven Guerrero, Aaron Olvera & Harlingen: Mack Sanchez, Alejandro Pallares) were finding their niche and scoring at will. With various lead changes throughout this quarter, Pallares and M. Sanchez were able to sink two each and put the Cardinals on top with a one point lead, 51-50, going into the final quarter. The Cardinals had all the momentum going into the fourth, but as any coach can tell you, the game can change in a blink of an eye. That is exactly what happened to Harlingen. With a great backdoor look, a steal, and a quick layup to start the quarter, Edinburg had began what would end up being a 12-0 run to spark the Bobcats to an eventual win. With 5:18 left in the game, Jr. guard, Aaron Olvera, who many feel is one of the best basketball players in the valley, began showing why his leadership and skill is what will lead the Bobcats to a postseason. The Cardinal offense got cold and wasn’t able to convert. Edinburg outscored Harlingen 21-6 in the fourth quarter alone which sealed the deal for the Bobcats. Unfortunately Harlingen, after a hard-fought battle, let the reigns go in the fourth quarter to give the Bobcats a 71-57 win.
Aaron Olvera, Jr. Guard, Edinburg Bobcats
Photo Courtesy: 956sports.com
Harlingen and Edinburg will rematch again Feb. 16 in Cardinal Country. Good Luck to both teams as they represent a fierce 31-5A district.