The Banquete Lady Dogs improved their record to 11-9 Friday night with a 60-57 win over the Kingsville Academy Lady Lions.

The Lady Dogs pulled ahead early in the first quarter with a 12-8 lead with 3:49 left, but the Lady Lions then went on a 6-0 scoring run to pull ahead 14-12 a couple of minutes later. By the end of the first, Kingsville Academy led, 19-16.

Banquete continued to trail in the second quarter as the Lady Lions continued to find ways to score. However, Kingsville Academy got themselves into foul trouble early on, allowing the Lady Dogs to pull ahead with a string of free throws. A pair of free throws by Nieves Pena tied the game 23-23 with 5:23 left in the half. Lady Dogs would take the lead less than a minute later.

By halftime, Banquete held a 39-34 lead. Sophie Ramos made the final shot of the half to increase her team's lead to five points. She finished the game with seven points.

The Lady Dogs went 7-10 in free throw shooting in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, Kingsville Academy remained consistent in their shooting, tying the game 44-44 on a three-point shot by Kacee Ritter. Banquete also found themselves in foul trouble, committing four team fouls within the first five minutes of the half and forcing them to play a more conservative defense in the quarter.

The Lady Dogs regained the lead on a free throw and a two-point shot by Pena near the end of the third, giving Banquete a 49-46 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Banquete remained in control for most of the fourth until Kingsville Academy's Ashley Ritter hit a three-pointer with two minutes remaining in the game. The Lady Dogs would tie it back up on a pair of free throws by Leslie Chapa with 1:32 left.

With 18 seconds remaining, Clarisa Alvear scored on a two-point jumper to give Banquete a 59-57 lead. After the Lady Lions called a timeout, Alvear stole the inbound pass to give the Lady Dogs possession of the ball and forcing Kingsville Academy to foul Chapa with four seconds left in the game.

Chapa missed her first free throw, but made the second, allowing the Lady Lions a chance to tie the game. However, the Lady Dogs were able to keep Kingsville Academy from scoring as they forced the Lady Lions to take a difficult shot as time expired, giving Banquete the 60-57 victory.

"This is what helped us win the game," Banquete head coach Adriana Gutierrez said. "Defense. Their smart play. They listened and they were focused because we didn't care about anything else but just stopping that ball from going into that basket."

Gutierrez said that Kingsville Academy's shooting ability helped to improve her team's defensive presence as it forced them to work in different way than previous games had.

"They have very good outside shooters and that helped us adjust in our defense because we hadn't met up with a team that has outside shooting," Gutierrez said. "It (has been that) either that they have girls that are so big they're either in the paint or around the perimeter, and with this team, it didn't matter where they shot from, that ball was going in. I've got to give credit to them."

Chapa led Lady Dogs in scoring with 23 points, including going 8-10 from the free throw line, six assists and four steals. Pena had 18 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Alvear finished with eight points.

The boys Varsity team also played on Friday, but moved the game from 5 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. due to Banquete High School's early release for the holidays. The Bulldogs beat the Port Aransas Panthers 50-39.

The Lady Dogs will play Kingsville Academy again in an away game on Jan. 5. They will play their first district game on the road on Friday Jan. 8 against the Bloomington Lady Bobcats.

The Lady Dogs' next home game will be on Jan. 12 against the Taft Lady Greyhounds.