WESLACO — For two quarters Weslaco High and Edinburg High exchanged blows, with the Panthers taking a one-point advantage into the break.

Weslaco flipped the script during the third quarter, however, outscoring Edinburg High 12-2 during the period and never looking back en route to a 49-37 Class 6A bi-district round victory Tuesday at Sepulveda Gym in Weslaco.

The victory advances the Panthers to the Class 6A area round where they’ll take on San Antonio Brennan at a date, time and location to be determined.

The Bobcats finish their season with a 20-13 overall record, including a 6-4 mark during District 31-6A play for third.

“We had a gameplan coming in, but I knew it was going to be tough because they’re a good, scrappy ball club,” Weslaco High head coach Gabe Valdez said. “We just had to keep our composure. We didn’t execute as well as I wanted us to but hats off to them for not allowing us to. The kids responded well just like the last half of the season though. We’re peaking at the right time and playing the right kind of basketball right now.”

Neither team could find an advantage during the first two periods of the contest, with the Bobcats clawing back every time the Panthers tried to pull away.

A late bucket during the second by Edinburg High’s Edgar Perales sent the game into the half with Weslaco High only up 20-19.

The Panthers responded in dominating fashion during the third, with junior forward Pete Cantu and sophomore guard Kade Lopez each scoring five points during the period to outscore the Bobcats 12-2 and take a double-digit lead into the final period.

Weslaco High’s Pete Cantu (30) contests a shot by an Edinburg High player during a Class 6A bi-district contest against on Tuesday at Sepulveda Gym in Weslaco. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

“We came in at halftime and told the guys we needed to look at certain things,” Valdez said. “Our bigs have been our catapult the last eight games. We knew that and we had to do it again. That was the soft message. The defense has also stepped it up over the last half of the season. They get after it when we need them to. Tonight, they did the right things at the right time.”

The Bobcats wouldn’t go down without a fight, however, cutting the deficit to eight on a 3-pointer by senior Noah Garza with a minute remaining.

The rally attempt would end their, however, with freshman Kai Fino hitting four straight free throws down the stretch to ice the contest.

Weslaco High’s Kai Fino (21) dribbles the ball during a Class 6A bi-district contest against Edinburg High on Tuesday at Sepulveda Gym in Weslaco. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

“We concentrate on free throws a lot,” Valdez said. “We’re not going to lose the ball game over free throws. They’re free for a reason. We emphasize that to them and we’ve been doing that for a long time.”

Lopez led the Panthers with 18 points, including 12 from beyond the arc. Cantu added 13 points and senior Jake Ramirez chipped in 10.

Freshman Brayan Martinez led the Bobcats with 13 points off the bench. Junior Edgar Perales added 9 points.

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