HARLINGEN — For the past two years, the Harlingen Cardinals and the Harlingen South Hawks have met in the boys’ championship game of the Dr. Keillor Tournament, and both have been nailbiters.
In 2010, the Hawks won by one and in 2011, the Cardinals won by one.
And even though the 2012 version of the Hawks and Cardinals championship game wasn’t a one-point affair, it was still one for the ages.
Trailing by 10 going into the fourth quarter, South mounted a huge comeback as the Hawks outscored Harlingen 21-7 throughout the remainder of the contest and secured the tournament title with a 60-55 victory.
“It’s been wild with the fact that we have played Harlingen High in the past two championship games and we ended up facing them again,” said Harlingen South head coach Brian Molina. “This one was another crazy one and games like this aren’t making me any younger.
“But we expected this because Harlingen is such a good basketball team and very well coached. We were fortunate that the kids fought back and Nick Garcia definitely helped to give us that spark we needed late in the game. This was a huge win for us and I am so proud of the kids.”
Harlingen South (5-2) was hot from the three-point line early in the contest as the Hawks were a perfect 3 for 3 from behind the arc to take a 9-4 lead.
After the Hawks built up a 13-7 lead, Harlingen (8-2) came on strong as the Cardinals went on a 12-4 run to take their first lead of the contest 19-17 with 1:04 left in the first quarter. Gilbert Reza played a huge role during that run for the Cardinals as he scored eight of their 12 points.
Trailing 23-20, Harlingen South retook the lead 26-20 with 5:14 left in the second quarter as the Hawks opened the quarter by going on a 6-0 run.
But then the Cards got hot as they outscored the Hawks 16-2 throughout the remainder of the quarter and went into the locker room with a 39-28 halftime lead. Once again, Reza played an integral role as he scored eight of the 16 points for Harlingen and totaled 16 in the half. The majority of Reza’s points came at the three-point line as he nailed four of them in the first half and ended up with 23 points on the night.
The Cardinals remained in control throughout the third quarter as they held a double-digit lead (49-39) going in to the fourth.
“We committed too many turnovers late in the contest and that hurt us,” said Harlingen head coach Greg Yates. “Also Harlingen South applied some tremendous pressure in the fourth quarter and Nick definitely gave them that push they needed late.”
On the girls’ side, the Harlingen Lady Cardinals rode the hot hand of Alexis Martinez as she led them to a 57-26 victory over Edinburg in the third-place game.
The all-tourney selection scored 29 points for the Lady Cardinals while Edinburg star player Micheline Mercelita sat out of the third place game as a precaution due to a minor head injury suffered against Corpus Christi Carroll in the semifinals.
“Overall we had a good tournament,” said Harlingen head coach Nora Zamarripa on her team’s overall performance. “We got a lot exposed to some different styles and saw some different players and teams from out of the area.
“I feel it was a great preparation for district play which begins on Tuesday.”
In the girls championshp final, which followed the boys title game at Harlingen South, Corpus Christi Carroll easily beat Laredo Alexander 49-29 to claim the tournament title.
Carroll’s Ceara O’Donnell was named the tourney’s MVP.
Harlingen South 53, PSJA Memorial 44
LJ Juarez Lincoln 44, Pace 42
Harlingen 79, Santa Rosa 49
LJ Palmview 53, PSJA 36
Eagle Pass 66, PSJA Memorial 61 (OT)
LJ Juarez Lincoln 56, Kingsville 49
Economedes 49, Santa Rosa 41
Harlingen South 83, Eagle Pass 32
LJ Palmview 55, Bro. St. Joseph 44
Harlingen 99, Economedes 47
Pace 40, Kingsville 27
PSJA 74, Bro. St. Joseph 50
Harlingen South 60, Harlingen 55
THIRD PLACE GAME
Palmview 47, Juarez Lincoln 41
Harlingen South 48, Juarez Lincoln 47
Harlingen 67, Palmview 45
Eagle Pass 54, Pace 42
PSJA 74, Economedes 41
PSJA Memorial 67, Kingsville 55
Santa Rosa 37, Bro. St. Joseph 48
MVP: Anjel Gonzales, Harlingen South
Harlingen: Gilbert Reza, Matthew Cervantes
Harlingen South: Reuben Britton, Daniel Perales
St. Joseph: Luis Varela
PSJA Memorial: Arthur Cuellar
Eagle Pass: Johnny Garza
PSJA: Luis Mancillas
Juarez-Lincoln: Ramiro Garza
Palmview: Jaime Garza
Harlingen 57, PSJA Memorial 14
Harlingen South 63, McAllen Memorial 26
Edinburg Vela 52, Brownsville Pace 41
Edinburg 61, Laredo LBJ 23
Laredo Alexander 60, McAllen Rowe 30
Los Fresnos 36, Brownsville St. Joseph 33
Alice 60, Brownsville Hanna 37
CC Carroll 76, Brownsville Rivera 25
Harlingen 59, Vela 43
Edinburg 55, Harlingen South 50
Laredo Alexander 63, Alice 35
Carroll 50, Los Fresnos 28
Pace 47, PSJA Memorial 26
Laredo LJB 59, McAllen Memorial 36
McAllen Rowe 56, Hanna 41
St. Joseph 41, Rivera 33
Carroll 78, Edinburg 18
Laredo Alexander 41, Harlingen 39
Third place: Harlingen 57, Edinburg 26
Championship: CC Carroll 49, Laredo Alexander 29
Rowe 37, Pace 32
St. Joseph def. Laredo LBJ
Consolation final: St. Joseph 38, Rowe 28
Vela 39, Alice 36
Los Fresnos 53, Harlingen South 49
Fifth place: Los Fresnos 54, Vela 27
PSJA Memorial vs. Hanna, not reported
McAllen Memorial vs. Rivera, not reported
MVP: Ceara O’Donnell, Carroll
Harlingen: Itzayana Sanchez, Alexis Martinez
St. Joseph: Clara Dawson
Los Fresnos: Chanel Ebanks-Texada
Edinburg: Eileen Martinez, Micheline Mercelita
Carroll: Karly Evans, Dia Evans
Alexander: Diana Scott, Lluva Nurell