EDINBURG — Four quarters wasn’t enough to settle Saturday’s Class 6A bi-district playoff matchup between Weslaco High and Edinburg Economedes, as the Panthers pushed past the Jaguars 43-38 in overtime at Edinburg Vela High School.
“We’ve been able to do things all year long that have helped us and kept us in games. It hasn’t been pretty all year, but I told the guys we had to buckle down, make some stops and execute on the offensive end, and luckily we did,” Weslaco head coach Gabriel Valdez said.
The Panthers (21-4, 13-1) fought back from a four-point deficit during the fourth quarter to eventually upend the Jaguars (16-8, 10-5) in extra time.
Trailing by three with less than 2 minutes to play, Weslaco forward Andrew Olmeda rose up from 25 feet and drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 37.
“It was a good feeling tying it up to go into overtime. I just knew my team needed this victory and I was able to come through for us and deliver,” Olmeda said.
During the four-minute overtime period, Weslaco’s defense locked in and gave up just one point to pull out the win.
Vince Peralez and J.P. Galindo, the only two seniors on the team, came up big when the Panthers needed it. Peralez finished with a game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Galindo added 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
“Me and my boy J.P., we were not ready to go home. Two seniors on a young squad, they look up to us and we got the job done,” Peralez said. “It was a crazy win overall.”
Economedes erased a two-point halftime deficit by hitting four 3-pointers during the third quarter. Jaguars forward Ray De Leon hit three of them and finished with a team-high 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and one block. Jorge Loredo and MJ Barrientos combined to score 17 for Economedes.
“I’m very proud of our boys for what we have accomplished. I knew we had a chance, and as everybody saw, we did. It came down to making shots and we missed a critical one,” Economedes head coach Carlos Ramos said. “I knew we were going up against the No. 1 team in the other district, so I’m very proud of what they accomplished.”
Valdez knew the Panthers were in for a challenge against what he felt wasn’t a true No. 4 seed, but Weslaco found a way to win and advance.
“Hats off to them. They’re a great ball club and a tough team,” Valdez said. “We came out with a sloppy win, but it’s better to take an ugly win than an easy loss.”
Next for Weslaco High is an area round matchup against the winner of Monday’s bi-district playoff game between San Antonio Warren and Laredo United South.