By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
A spirited 2nd-half comeback fell short for the Port Isabel High Lady Tarpons basketball team last week. They lost to Rio Hondo, 47-43, after rallying from double-digits down in the fourth quarter in the second district game for both teams.
Port Isabel falls to 0-2 in district play with the loss. Rio Hondo improves to 1-1.
The Lady Tarpons fell behind 8-2 in the opening minutes of the game and trailed 17-8 at the end of a quarter of play. They got as close as four points, 17-13, in the second period, and the Lady Bobcats’ led 21-13 at the break.
Port Isabel came out with guns blazing in the second half, outscoring the visitors 11-2 to start the third quarter. The Lady Tarpons took the lead, 24-23, on Laura Moctezuma’s free throw at 5:56 of the quarter. It was back-and-forth for the rest of the quarter and Rio Hondo took a 34-30 lead into the fourth.
“The first two minutes we went on a tear,” P.I. head coach Blake Ramsey said afterwards. “(We had an) 11-2 run to start the quarter. “The second half we switched up (on defense) and we just pressed them, straight man-for-man.”
The visiting Lady ‘Cats then seemed to take back control of the game and they took a 43-33 lead with under four minutes to play. But the Lady Tarpons would not go down that easily.
Karina Vela made two free throws. Victoria Macias got a layup. Alex Martinez got two on a put-back, stole the ball and made another bucket on a fast-break layup, and Port Isabel was within three, 45-42.
Martinez made another steal and hit the floor after a hard foul. She made one of two free throw attempts and P.I. trailed by two with 33 seconds to go.
Port Isabel missed two free throws, Rio Hondo got two on a short jumper, and that was a final, 47-43.
“We lost our head for about a minute-and-a-half (4th quarter). We gave up an easy basket in transition and turned it over at the wrong time,” Ramsey said after the game. “Credit to them (Rio Hondo) – they knocked down some big shots.”
“They were about what I expected. Rio Hondo is always going to be a good basketball team. They’re well-coached.”
Alex Martinez was the team’s leading scorer on the night with 21 points and made nine steals. Karina Vela led the Lady Tarpons with 15 rebounds.
The team is off the rest of this week. Next week they will compete in the Roy Williams Holiday Tournament at West Oso (Corpus Christi) High School. That’s a three-day tournament that starts on Monday, the 28th. The Lady Tarpons will return to Tarpon Gym on Saturday, Jan. 2, for a district game against Raymondville.
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