By Larry Gage
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel Lady Tarpons basketball squad turned it on in the fourth quarter and held off Raymondville, 40-35, in a key District 32-4A match Tuesday night, January 28, at Tarpon Gym.
It was a rather low-scoring game for the first three quarters of the contest, although Port Isabel did lead 10-2 at the end of the first quarter. Raymondville came on in the second quarter and took a 15-14 lead going into halftime. It was 23-20, Raymondville, at the end of three and then, in the fourth, it got exciting.
Sabrina Gonzalez hit a three-pointer and Ryley Galvan made two and, after Galvan’s second three, PI led 34-28. But the Lady Kats were not done: they closed within three, 38-35, on a pair of free throws and a field goal.
Then with 13 seconds left to play, PI’s Galvan went to the line at the west basket, made two foul shots, and that was a final, 40-35.
“I thought we looked good all game, just that one stretch in the second quarter – they went on a 11-0 run,” head Lady Tarpons basketball coach Kyle DeMoss said afterwards.
“The girls came out really strong – that starting lineup’s been great three straight games. They’re (Raymondville) a good team – they came out and played hard. We were expecting a battle and we got one.”
“We were struggling but it was all team ball, really,” Galvan told the PRESS. “We were cutting down on our turnovers and just being more careful with the ball.”
Gonzalez (12 points, one three-pointer) was back after a two-game absence, and she went down hard in the fourth quarter after a collision with a Raymondville player.
“The girl was driving in and she hit me … we bumped knees,” Gonzalez said afterwards. “I’m fine – it hurts a bit but I’ll be good. Shout-out to Ryley (Galvan) – she had an amazing game.” Gonzalez led the team with five steals and also had an assist.
Galvan led PI in scoring with 17 points (two threes) and six rebounds, and added four steals, four assists, and a block to the winning cause.
With the win, and last Friday’s 37-33 home win over Progreso, the Lady Tarpons improved to 7-3 in district play and 17-12 overall. They are alone in third place in the district standings. Hidalgo is first with a 10-0 record and Rio Hondo is next at 8-2. La Feria, Port Isabel’s road opponent this Friday, is fourth with a 6-4 league mark. Zapata (4-6), Raymondville (3-7), and Progreso and Grulla (1-9 each) round out the district standings. A playoff spot is all but assured at this point.
“I think we just pushed all the way through,” Samantha Chapa said afterwards. “Gisel (Borjas) helped out a lot ‘cause she has really long arms that helped swipe the ball, and she was a big asset to the team.”
“It’s just a testament to the girls,” DeMoss said. “They’ve battled all year. It’s awesome. They understand our plays now and they understand playing with each other and playing to each other’s strengths. We’re playing our best basketball right now.”
The team remains on the road through next Tuesday’s game at RGC Grulla and will return to Tarpon Gym for next Friday’s return match with Hidalgo. The regular season will end at Rio Hondo on Tuesday, February 10.