Scary win: Rowe escapes Weslaco with late resurgence
By: Jonathan Salinas
Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a better game than Friday night’s matchup between the Warriors and Panthers. The Rowe Warriors ultimately held onto a 66-56 victory but, the Weslaco Panthers gave them a run for their money.
After opening the first quarter with an 8-2 run, the Rowe Warriors looked like they were going to cruise to the finish line as they were dominating the Panthers.
The Warriors took a commanding 33-17 lead with three minutes remaining in the second quarter and that’s when things started to turn around. After Weslaco’s Tyler Martinez launched a three pointer to cut their deficit, Nick Viegas followed suit with 12 points which came off 2 three’s and five free throws. The Panthers were able to cut the Warriors’ lead down to eight as they trailed 37-29 heading into the locker rooms. However, the momentum didn’t fade.
Coming out for the third quarter, Viegas kept his hot hand by netting another three pointer and shortly after would tie the game with two free throws. The Panthers resilience finally paid off when they took their first lead of the game at the 5:57 mark after Viegas again lit up the scoreboard with another three.
“I’ve never had a team that doesn’t battle,” Weslaco head coach Gabe Valdez said. “Every night, we battle. We knew coming into the game that they were in first place and they were there for a reason. My guys reacted really well and they kept their composure. [Viegas] has been really big for us.”
The second half was intense for both squads as there were three lead changes and three ties as they exchanged baskets. Warriors’ head coach Jose Yerba says he knew that Weslaco wasn’t going to be an easy win.
“We knew they were gonna play,” Yerba said. “We knew Weslaco wasn’t just going to lay down and give us the game. We came out at the end of the second quarter and we just let them back in the game.”
With a little over minutes left in the fourth quarter, Marcus Contreras gave the Warriors just the spark they needed to pull away with a win by scoring seven straight points. Even though the Panthers have struggled all season long going 1-10 in district play, Valdez is still proud to see they have some fight left in them.
“Words can’t even describe how proud I am of these boys,” Valdez said. “We have struggled all season, but the kids kept fighting and never gave up. They could have easily given up on us. They played their hearts out tonight and I love these kids to death.”
The Warriors will now face off with sister school McAllen Memorial Tuesday night while Weslaco tries to turn their luck around against PSJA North.
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