By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel Lady Tarpon varsity hoops squad won their third straight district contest of the season Tuesday night, taking the measure of the Hidalgo Lady Pirates on the road, 46-39. In so doing the team guaranteed itself a playoff spot with one game remaining.
“These kids are certainly resilient,” head coach Alan Ward said before practice on Wednesday. “We played poorly in the first quarter and turned it around in the second. They got it together in the second quarter and the rest of the game.”
It was Port Isabel’s second sweep of a District 32-3A opponent this year. Earlier this month, at home, in the first game against Hidalgo, the Ladies squeaked out a 41-40 win. Last week, in Tarpon Gym, they made it two for two over Progreso as they won 51-18.
With the win, the Lady Tarpons improve to 5-2 in district play, which keeps them in second place behind Rio Hondo. The Lady Bobcats visit Tarpon Gym Friday, Feb. 1, for the final game of the district season for Port Isabel. Rio will have one more game to play after tonight. Rio Hondo was off on Tuesday and comes in undefeated in district action at 6-0. Two weeks ago, Port Isabel was overwhelmed at Rio Hondo, 67-16.
At Hidalgo, the Lady Tarpons trailed 10-4 at the end of a quarter of play and took a 16-12 lead going into halftime. They equaled their first-half point total in the third quarter as they started the fourth period with a 32-26 advantage.
The lead was up to 12 points in the third quarter before foul trouble set in. “We had two foul out and with four fouls we put (Kelcie Swink) back in the game,” Ward said. “She lasted the rest of the way through. Her rebounding helped us hang on and then she made free-throws down the stretch.”
Alex Martinez led Port Isabel in scoring with 21 points and also had seven rebounds, made six steals, and blocked two shots. Flor Gonzalez and Kelcie Swink each dropped in seven points and Swink led the team with 12 boards and two assists.
The team did quite well at the free throw line as half of their points came on foul shots. For the game the team made 23 of 36 attempts (64 percent).
Martinez and Swink are each currently ranked among the Valley leaders, all classes included, in three statistical categories. Martinez is tied for 28th with a per-game average of 9.5 points and is fourth in steals with 5.1 thefts per contest. Swink is tied for seventh in rebounds with a 9.7 average and is tied for 12th in steals with 3.6 per game.
As for finding a different result this time against the state-ranked Lady Bobcats, Ward said, “Well, it probably helps that we’re more familiar with our roles. It’s just a matter of playing with more confidence and being strong with the basketball.”
Read this story in the Jan. 31 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.