Weslaco's Kennedy Villalpando (12) attempts a shot on San Antonio Stevens Semaj Adams (15)during the first half of a class 5-A area game at Laredo Martin gymnasium on Monday, Feb.22,2021 in Laredo. (SPECIAL TO The Monitor PHOTO by Clara Sandoval

The Weslaco High Panthers, who rallied for a decisive victory in the bi-district round, came up short in a back-and-forth 52-41 loss to San Antonio Stevens on Monday at Laredo Martin High School in the area round of the Class 6A girls basketball state playoffs to bring their season to an end.

The Panthers battled with the Falcons, who entered as the champions of District 29-5A, throughout a competitive first half. The team jumped out to an 11-10 lead during the first quarter thanks to a quick offensive start.

Weslaco was led by big games from junior guards Alexa Davila and Melanie Carrion, as well as sophomore center Morgan Peralez, who helped keep their team close through the game’s first three quarters.

The Panthers entered halftime trailing Stevens 27-22 but remained within striking distance for a comeback.

Weslaco attempted to fluster the Falcons with their aggressive full-court press and traps but was mostly unable to draw their opponents out of the half court offensively.

San Antonio Stevens dictated the pace throughout the second half and fed the ball down low repeatedly, where the Falcons were able to use their size and physicality to score on the interior and put the Panthers in foul trouble.

Stevens ultimately put the game away late during the fourth quarter by converting its opportunities at the free-throw line to prevent a Weslaco comeback bid.

San Antonio Stevens advances to the Class 6A regional quarterfinals to face the Laredo United Longhorns, who defeated PSJA North 70-55 in the area round Wednesday night.

The winner between the Falcons and Longhorns will advance to the Class 6A Sweet 16, or regional semifinals, to face the winner of the Edinburg High Bobcats and Harlingen High Cardinals.

Email: amcculloch@themonitor.com

Twitter: @ByAndyMcCulloch