Cardinals go back-to-back at Mid-Valley Classic

WESLACO — The Harlingen Cardinals defeated Tuloso–Midway 47-25 on their way to defend their Mid-Valley Classic girls basketball tournament championship Saturday at Weslaco East High School.

The three-day basketball tournament celebrated its 39th year since it first tipped off in 1980.

“It’s really great to kick off the season with a big tournament,” Weslaco East head coach Chris Kromer said. “We had the top 10 teams compete in the tournament and almost everybody here is a playoff team.”

To win the championship, Harlingen took off to a quick 7-2 lead attacking the basket, converting down low and at the free-throw line.

The Cardinals were led by sophomore point guard Avery Hinojosa, who was also named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Hinojosa showed why after converting on a baseline reverse layup and then hit a 3-pointer as time expired during the first quarter. To open up the second quarter, she stopped at the top of the key, waited for her teammates to run the offense and with a quick step left she drove into the lane and scored with a running tear drop.

“She is very quick and she likes to attack the basket,” Harlingen High head coach Ashley Moncivaiz said. “She is a good asset for our team.”

The Cardinals broke down the defensive zone and went on a 14-2 run and widened their lead 30-9 with 2:28 in the second quarter before going into halftime with a comfortable 34-13 lead.

Missed shots, missed second attempts down low and multiple missed free throws by Tuloso–Midway hurt its attack.

Tuloso–Midway defeated Los Fresnos 64-39 in the Final Four early Saturday afternoon to advance to the championship. Harlingen defeated Weslaco High 49-44 to advance to its second straight Mid-Valley Classic final.

In the consolation match for third place, Weslaco High held its lead in the fourth quarter to defeat Los Fresnos 59-54.

“We are glad to be part of these games and were proud to fight though those games and it’s only going to make us better,” Weslaco head coach Griselda Fino said about the tournament.

rgarcia@themonitor.com