By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel Tarpon varsity basketball team controls its own fate as far as the playoffs are concerned. If the team beats Rio Hondo at home this Friday night, Feb. 1, the Tarpons clinch a playoff spot. With a split in their last two District 32-3A games, the Tarpons are tied with La Feria for second place, each with 3-2 district records.
Last Friday, in Tarpon Gym, Port Isabel held La Feria to 11 points in the first half and beat the Lions, 47-35. At Hidalgo this past Tuesday the Tarpons were playing for a first-place tie with the Pirates but came up short, 61-42.
The Tarpons wrap up their district season with games against Progreso at home next Friday (Feb. 8) and at La Feria on Monday, February 11.
“I told the team at the half, when the defense holds a team (La Feria) to 11 points, that’s a great job,” head basketball coach Al Senteno said Monday. “Then we were able to get a lead and put a little pressure on them offensively.”
The Tarpons led the Lions 16-9 at the end of the first quarter, 24-11 at halftime, and 34-21 at the end of three.
Jimmy Puentes led the Tarpons in scoring with 15 points against La Feria, including the game’s first field goal only two seconds in after Port Isabel controlled the opening tip. Puentes also pulled down nine rebounds. Miguel Ramirez had 13 points and got the double-double with a team-leading 12 boards. Kieler Gentry scored eight points and Isaiah Martinez and Ramirez had eight and five steals respectively.
At Hidalgo on Tuesday the Tarpons took a 10-8 lead in the first quarter but could not extend or maintain it as the Pirates took control the rest of the way.
“We got into foul trouble in the first half,” Senteno said afterwards. “We were only down by 11 in the first half. Hidalgo did a great job with their pressure defense. They’d go up by 16 points, we’d close it to 10 and we couldn’t get any closer.”
Kieler Gentry led the Tarpons in scoring at Hidalgo with 13 points and took down five rebounds.
Puentes scored 12 points and had six boards. Ramirez got his third straight double-double as totaled 10 points and 15 rebounds. DeMarkus Clark dropped in four points and grabbed six rebounds and Zach Reeves added three points.
Port Isabel goes for the sweep against Rio Hondo tonight as they took the first game back on January 15, 55-49.
“We’re mirror images of each other, two evenly matched teams,” Senteno said. “We both like to run the floor. We’ve got to step it up. This is a big one…we’ll get after it.”
Read this story in the Jan. 31 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.