BY TJ GARCIA
Griselda Fino and the Weslaco Lady Panthers are entering uncharted waters.
But that’s a good thing.
The 2017 version of the Lady Panthers is not the same as the dominating teams of years past with rosters brimming with college talent, but still, this scrappy, often-injured group with Fino at the helm have now qualified for the UIL Region IV “Sweet Sixteen” tournament for the fourth time in the last five years.
Fino has led Weslaco to the playoffs in almost every season since she took over the program in 2008-2009 season. That sort of consistency – especially to go four rounds deep four of the last five seasons – is impressive, very impressive.
Tonight the Lady Panthers (31-8) face a very challenging opponent in San Antonio Brandeis, a Northside School District school located next door to UTSA. The Brandeis Lady Broncos, who started the season 6-7, are now 26-8 and have lost just once in almost three months. The regional semifinal will be played at Laredo’s Energy Arena at 6 p.m.
Brandeis is led by University of Georgia signee Gabrielle Connally, a 5-foot-7 point guard who scores 25.6 points per game and dishes out 5.6 assists per contest.
Weslaco is only Rio Grande Valley girls’ team still alive in the playoffs. Meanwhile the boys, still in the second round of their postseason, have several games and only one game is being played in the RGV.
McHi at Harlingen South, 7:30 p.m.
Weslaco East vs. Laredo United South, at South San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.
Weslaco vs. South San Antonio, at Corpus Christi Vets Memorial, 7 p.m.
Los Fresnos vs. Laredo United, at Roma HS, 7:30 p.m.
Sharyland Pioneer vs. Corpus Christi Moody, at Alice, 7:30 p.m.
Brownsville Veterans vs. Corpus Christi King, at Kingsville HS, 6 p.m.
Santa Rosa vs. Dilley at Corpus Christi Ray HS, 7:30 p.m.