Gonzalez sends Lady Eagles to OT victory over Lady Lobos - Brownsville Herald: H.S. Basketball

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Gonzalez sends Lady Eagles to OT victory over Lady Lobos

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Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2019 8:27 pm

Retail workers weren’t the only ones putting in extra time on Black Friday, as Hanna required an overtime period to finish off a feisty Lopez squad 56-55 at home.

The Lady Eagles were led by Odalys Gonzalez, who posted 17 rebounds and scored four of her 19 points in overtime, including the game-winning bucket. Fabiola Estrada had 14 points and Sofia Castillo had 13 points to lead the visitors.

“I’m really proud of our girls,” Hanna coach Luis Gonzalez said. “And the way they fought back and found a way to win. (Lopez) hit some big threes, it could have gone either way.”

With the game deadlocked at 47 at the start of overtime, Lopez’s Sofia Castillo made her way through the lane and made her signature one-legged jumper off the glass a few steps inside the free throw line to put the Lady Lobos ahead by two.

Yasmin Rucoba (nine points) evened the game back up for Hanna, followed by a three-pointer by Alexis Alvarez that bounced high off of the rim before finding its way through the net.

Estrada tied the game at 52 with a three of her own, and the Lady Eagles fed the ball to Gonzalez in the paint to go up by two.

With the crowd’s energy at its apex, Cielo Chapa connected on a deep three-ball to put her squad back on top and send the Lady Lobos’ supporters into a frenzy.

But Gonzalez, perhaps boosted by the Lady Eagles’ vocal fans, again found a way to elevate above the Lopez defense, using the glass for the decisive basket.

“She just really helped us with her rebounding and her presence tonight,” Gonzalez said. “Without her, it would have been a different ballgame.”

The home team jumped out to a 13-5 lead at the 3:30 mark of the first quarter, during which Alvarez scored seven of her 15 points, including the first of three three-point field goals.

At that point, it appeared the Lady Eagles were going to cruise to an easy post-holiday victory. The Lady Lobos and Brenda Savariego (11 points) had other plans.

“They fought hard throughout the whole game,” Lopez coach Ray Montes said. “Every possession counts. That’s a learning experience that they’ll have to go through. I just told them to go home and think about that one time you didn’t box out, that one free throw you missed, that one layup that we missed ... I’m very proud of them, but at the same time, we have to go home and think about those things and change our mentality.”

Her strong drive through the middle of the lane for a floater ended the Lopez scoring drought and brought Hanna’s lead to 13-7 with 1:30 to go in the first quarter.

Shortly thereafter, the Lady Lobos swung the ball to Chapa (11 points) for a 10-foot bunker along the baseline and Savariego hit a jumper inside the left elbow to cap a 6-0 scoring burst at the end of the quarter, at which point Hanna led by four.

That set the tone for Lopez in the second quarter, which began on a similar note when Castillo drained a one-footed floater to bring the Lady Lobos within a basket, cutting Hanna’s lead to 15-13 with 6:30 to go in the period.

Odalys Gonzalez snapped Lopez’s 8-0 run when she scored Hanna’s first basket of the second quarter to put the Lady Eagles up 17-13 at the 3:45 mark. Hanna led by as much as seven in the second quarter after a three-pointer from Esmeralda Fuentes.

The tide turned in Lopez’s favor when Estrada and Savariego both made shots from downtown in the final 26 seconds of the half, the latter of which came at the buzzer to cut Hanna’s lead to 20-19 as both teams headed to the locker room.

Castillo’s steal and coast-to-coast layup in the opening minute of the third quarter gave Lopez a 21-20 lead, its first of the game.

The Lady Lobos capitalized on Hanna’s passive transition defense and continued to share the ball, swinging the ball around the arc for an Areli Cisneros three-pointer.

On the other end, a Gonzalez offensive rebound led to more unselfish play, as she passed the ball out to Hanna point guard Sam Ramos, who assisted Alvarez on a three that put the Lady Eagles ahead by four points.

Lopez trailed by three entering the fourth quarter and went on to outscore Hanna 15-12 in the period.

Down 47-44 late in regulation, a wild sequence allowed the Lady Lobos to extend the game when they turned the ball over and were forced to foul Ramos with under a minute to go. Ramos missed both of her free throws and opened the door for Chapa to knock down the game-tying bucket from deep three-point range.

Both coaches agreed that the game, which had the feel of a playoff-like atmosphere at its peak, was important for preparing their players for their respective district schedules.

“That’s what this non-district schedule is all about,” Gonzalez said. “Overall I’m just really pleased with the girls and I’m just grateful we’ll be ready for district.”

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