EDINBURG — Sometimes, it’s not about the start, but about the finish.
Edinburg High overcame a slow start Tuesday night against Edinburg Economedes as the Bobcats used a second-half surge to storm past the Jaguars for a 43-29 victory in District 31-6A action.
“Well, I kind of anticipated that they were going to pick us up in a zone. We started a little slow, we took some shots from the outside that we didn’t hit early on, but I think in the second half we made some adjustments and we started attacking the zone a little more,” Edinburg High head coach Zeke Cuellar said. “Our defense is what got us through this game. I think we put a lot of pressure on the ball in the second half, which created some turnovers and got us some easy baskets there in the second half.”
Edinburg High’s big man, John Carranco, led the way for the Bobcats as the senior recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while adding four blocks and three steals on defense.
“We had some challenges, we had to make some adjustments at halftime,” Carranco said. “We just kept our heads in the game, battled through it and got it done.”
After the break, Edinburg High’s guards Jorge Hernandez, Jerry Lopez and Markus Peña upped their defensive pressure as the Bobcats began forcing Economedes into turnovers and winning 50-50 balls.
“When someone gets a steal or a deflection, whatever happens on defense, it turns into offense. We get a steal, it pumps us up going on the offensive end and makes everything easier,” Carranco said.
Bobcats guard Fermin Ramos also scored 10 of his 13 points during the second half. Peña added eight points, and Lopez contributed six along with two assists, two steals and two rebounds.
Edinburg Economedes’ sophomore standout, Ray De Leon, was the focus of Edinburg High’s defense. The Bobcats’ goal was to slow him down, and they accomplished that as they surrendered just four points to the playmaking forward.
“Our game-planning was around him (De Leon),” Cuellar said. “Most of our stuff was trying to contain him because he’s going to be a great player. He already is a good player, but I think he’s got room to be a great player. He’s only a sophomore, he’s got two years and he’s going to be a handful for many teams in the coming years.”
Senior guard Trini Moreno led the Jaguars with 11 points, while Jorge Loredo added nine off the bench.
Next up for Edinburg Economedes (1-1 in 31-6A) is a road game against Weslaco East at 6 p.m. Friday.
Meanwhile, the Edinburg High Bobcats (2-0 in 31-6A) shift their focus to a tough test as they’ll square off against the Weslaco High Panthers on Friday.
“Weslaco High is a very high-impact team. They play with a lot of intensity, they’ve got players that can hurt you in different spots, so we have to play a little better ourselves offensively,” Cuellar said. “I think our defense can match up well with them, it depends on how well we prepare.”
Tip-off between the Bobcats and Panthers is set for 6 p.m. Friday at Edinburg High School.
“We just have to keep moving forward and stay focused,” Carranco said.