The Robstown Lady Pickers, Banquete Lady Bulldogs and Tuloso-Midway Cherokees competed in the Lady Coyotes Invitational Tournament held in Alice on Friday and Saturday. The tournament guaranteed each team would play four games whether they won or lost.
The Lady Pickers struggled throughout their games Friday, falling 29-82 to the Laredo-LBJ Lady Wolves. Nicole Vasquez led Robstown in scoring with 13 points.
Robstown lost again in their second game to Laredo-Alexander 23-58. The Lady Pickers trailed 5-37 at the half and 9-50 after the third quarter. Robstown's Jenna Rodriguez scored all five first-half points for her team.
While also losing both of their Friday games, Banquete still managed to play a relatively tight game against the Victoria Memorial Lady Vipers.
The Lady Dogs found themselves in a 3-11 hole late in the first quarter, but managed to tie up the game 14-14 early in the second. Unfortunately, the Lady Vipers went on a 12-4 scoring run, making the score 18-26 at the half.
In the second half, Banquete fought back, pulling within three points late in the third, but fatigue set in for the undermanned team, allowing the 5A Lady Vipers to finish strong with a 71-50 victory.
"We just ran out of gas," Lady Bulldogs head coach Adriana Gutierrez said. "There were a lot of turnovers and they got a lot of defensive rebounds."
Gutierrez said that one benefit that Victoria Memorial had over them was that they were able to rotate their starters out.
"We have three seniors, two juniors and one sophomore, and the player off the bench is a sophomore as well," Gutierrez said. "We have two other players that had doctor's notes, so I didn't play them."
Lindsie Chapa led the Lady Dogs in scoring with 19 points. Nieves Pena had 17 points and Candice Ayala finished with 12 points. The Lady Vipers would go on to beat host Lady Coyotes in the championship game 62-48.
The Lady Bulldogs' second game of the tournament was also a close affair. Taking on the Flour Bluff Lady Hornets, the game featured nine lead changes in the first quarter and stayed tight until the third quarter when the Lady Hornets managed to keep at least a 10-point lead against the Lady Dogs, ultimately finishing with a 57-45 victory over Banquete.
Pena and Chapa led the Lady Dogs in scoring with 18 points each.
Due to the cold weather and bad road conditions, the Tuloso-Midway Cherokees were unable to attend the tournament Friday and were forced to forfeit both of their scheduled games.
"It was an administrative decision," T-M head coach Hector Serna said. "At the time there was sleet in our area, so they didn't want us on the road. We had to forfeit those games, but it was for the safety of the kids."
The Lady Cherokees played their first game early Saturday against the Three Rivers Lady Bulldogs. T-M routed their opponents with a 57-24 victory.
Also playing early Saturday were Robstown and Banquete in a game against each other. The Lady Pickers managed to hold a lead early in the first quarter, but a pair of free throws by the Lady Dogs' Chapa gave her team a 15-14 advantage. By the half, Banquete led 37-20.
Robstown came out after the half with some much-needed intensity, keeping the Lady Bulldogs scoreless for most of the third quarter and going on a 12-0 run, but Banquete point guard Chapa pulled off a quick eight unanswered points to end the quarter, giving the Lady Dogs a 45-32 lead. Banquete would eventually win the game 66-37.
Robstown played their final game of the tournament against Three Rivers, winning 40-26. Melissa Gonzalez led the team with 21 points, including five three-pointers, three of which came in the third quarter.
The early Saturday victories by Banquete and T-M meant that the two teams' final game would be against each other. Competition was high in the game, with both teams looking to finish at least 2-2 for the tournament.
By the end of the first quarter, the Lady Dogs held a slim 14-11 lead against the Cherokees. Both teams traded baskets in the second quarter before T-M managed to take a 20-18 lead with 1:57 left in the half.
The Cherokees managed to grow their lead to six points in the third, but the Lady Bulldogs fought back to retake the lead 30-29 with 2:09 left in the quarter. By the end of the quarter, T-M led 35-33.
The Cherokees broke away shortly in the fourth, but Banquete continued to fight back, pulling to within two points with 30 seconds remaining in the game, but T-M managed one final score before finishing the game with a 44-40 victory.
"Banquete was pretty strong," Serna said. "I knew they were going to be tough. Banquete's tough, Three Rivers wasn't that strong, but we're very, very young. We're still learning, we're still trying to get ourselves accustomed to each other's moves and what to expect, but getting two wins here is going to help us."
Taylor Reeves led the Cherokees in scoring with nine points. Victoria Galaviz had eight and Nana Macias finished with seven points.
For Banquete, Pena led with 15 points. Ayala had 11 points.
The Cherokees and Lady Bulldogs will face each other again in the opening game of the Pride of Texas tournament at Tuloso-Midway High school. The game starts Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Gym B.
"I know that they're going to be ready for us," Serna said. "Hopefully we'll be able to do some things a lot better and execute."
"I think if we play smarter and get our free throws in, we missed 11 (in this game), we'll be in good shape," Gutierrez said.
The Lady Pickers' next game will be at home against the Taft Greyhounds on Tuesday at 7 p.m.