Garza, Rodriguez fuel Rio Hondo in Wiseman win

LA FERIA — All tournament long, Valley View fought its way back and hit clutch shot after clutch shot. After Friday’s thrilling, come-from-behind win in overtime against La Feria, the Lady Tigers were looking to finish what they started.

However, Rio Hondo’s duo of Estrella Garza and Eliza Rodriguez had other ideas. Garza scored a team-high 21 points, Rodriguez netted 13 points and Rio Hondo held off Valley View for a 53-49 win in the 46th annual Tommie Wiseman tournament championship game Saturday.

“We knew coming in that Valley View was going to have some outside shooters,” Rio Hondo coach Victor Sauceda said. “They like to take a lot of shots, and they have some big girls inside. We are an undersized team. I was hoping our athleticism would counteract what they were trying to do, but we did a good job.”

Rodriguez was named the tournament’s most valuable player, and Martinez was named to the all-tournament team.

“It feels really good to win this award,” Rodriguez said. “With my scoring I was hitting the 3-ball, but today I didn’t shoot too well, but my layups and passing where all there. With this win it will help us gain confidence as we head into district.”

The Lady Bobcats wrap up a strong tournament with a 4-0 record. Each win was against a team higher in classification. Rio Hondo beat a pair of Class 6A schools Thursday, beat a 5A club in the semifinals and followed with another win against a 5A opponent in the final.

“We did very well these last few games,” Rio Hondo senior Ayisha Andrews said. “The first game we missed some shots and layups, but right after that we went into practice and worked on those things and in our warmups, too. Overall, we just got better as the tournament went on.”

Much like their semifinal game against Mercedes, the Lady Bobcats got off to a hot start. Rio Hondo held the lead all the way up until the third quarter, when Alexis Ortegon hit a 3-pointer that gave Valley View its first lead, 32-31, late in the frame.

The fourth quarter is where Andrews, Garza and Rodriguez all chipped in and helped Rio Hondo pull away late via a 5-0 run that pushed its lead to 51-48 in the final minutes. Rodriguez scored eight fourth-quarter points, Garza netted six and Andrews scored four.

For Valley View, three Lady Tigers scored in double figures. Jimena Munoz led the offense with 19 points, Daniela Garza scored 15 points and was named to the all-tournament team, and Ortegon finished with 12 points.