Rio Hondo earns road win, edges La Feria

LA FERIA — Rio Hondo and La Feria entered Friday’s game looking for a 2-0 district start.

After a sluggish beginning from both teams, it was the Lady Bobcats’ hot shooting and defense that made the difference in a 34-28 win over the Lionettes.

The Lady Bobcats and Lionettes entered the second quarter tied at 9. Rio Hondo’s Amanda Gomez drilled a 3-pointer that set the tone in the period. The 3-ball became contagious, as Natalie Martinez and Eliza Rodriguez followed with shots of their own to help fuel a 12-4 run that added up to an 18-13 lead.

“I was hoping that run would continue,” Rio Hondo coach Victor Sauceda said. “We had a lot of open looks but the shots weren’t falling, and I told the girls when the shots aren’t falling we have to find another way to score. The kids did a good job on compacting the paint and it is hard to drive in, but we have to learn how to adjust because teams are going to throw different stuff at us. So we will learn from this and move forward.”

Eliza Rodriguez finished with a game-high 11 points for the Lady Bobcats, Natalie Martinez scored nine points, Amanda Gomez scored six key points and Estrella Garza also had six points.

Both offenses were stale during the third period, with Rio Hondo only netting two points and La Feria six points. Along with the cold shooting, La Feria couldn’t overcome the turnovers.

“Our girls executed the game plan and played well defensively,” La Feria coach Angel Martinez said. “Rio Hondo is a team that scores a lot of points, and we had a game plan defensively coming in and we knew what they had. They have good shooters and are a full-court defensive team and they like to bring pressure, and for most of the night we were able to handle that pressure.”

For La Feria, Alani Garza scored a team-high seven points, Sabrina Castaneda finished with six and Maggie Cavazos scored five.

Rio Hondo next shifts its focus to the Los Fresnos tournament, then they will meet Mercedes and pick district play back up against Hidalgo, which also is 2-0 in 32-4A.

“To start off 2-0 in district is great, and we want to continue this and finish strong,” Gomez said. “We want to keep getting better as the season goes on. Tonight when I was warming up I was hitting my 3s, and when I got the ball tonight I felt good when I shot.”

La Feria will look to rebound when it takes on Progreso. The loss puts La Feria at a 1-1 record early in the district season.

“I give credit to Rio Hondo, they are a good pressure team and have good defenders,” Martinez said. “We just need to execute the offense, and at times tonight we did execute on offense. We just made careless mistakes and mental mistakes with our passes, and that was our biggest thing tonight. If we can correct those turnovers, I think we win this ballgame.”k