GIRLS BASKETBALL: Holy Cross perseveres for first tourney title

Knights come through in 4th quarter at Pearsall



In Holy Cross’ first eight seasons of girls basketball, the Knights never had won a tournament championship.

“We’ve had some pretty good teams, but we’d never won a tournament,” Holy Cross coach Jesse Arguello said. “We had, maybe, gotten to the finals a couple of times.”

Holy Cross (8-6) sealed the deal Dec. 6 at the Pearsall Tournament. The Knights defeated Medina 36-29 in the championship game.

It was their second come back victory in three tournament games. Holy Cross also beat Cornerstone Christian 52-46 in its TAPPS 4-4A district opener Dec. 2.

“There were no big 6A schools, but we had to play well to beat some of those teams,” Arguello said. “It was a good week. We got four wins out of it. I’m very happy with that.

“It was a matter of persevering through some rough moments.”

Holy Cross trailed by 10 points in a pool-play game against Pearsall, so decided to press the Mavericks. The deficit soon was wiped out and the Knights won 53-42 in overtime Dec. 4 to advance to the title game.

“We hadn’t been playing well, so we changed up our defense,” Arguello said. “From that moment through overtime, it was a 21-point swing. They didn’t handle that change well and our girls got very aggressive on defense. They made some bad passes, and we got some energy from that.”

Brianna Salinas scored 18 points, Hayley Andrade added 17 and Victoria Gonzalez 14 against Pearsall.

The Knights also crushed Dilley 45-15 in another pool-play game. In the championship game, Holy Cross overcame a height advantage to win the close game.

“It was two fairly evenly matched teams,” Arguello said. “Our defense was strong, but we struggled offensively until the fourth quarter. Then we outscored them 14.6.

”It was another game where we kept plugging until things turned or way.”

Arguello said that is the type of approach his team will need to take this year.

“These girls have struggled, but they don’t quit,” he said. “We play pretty good defense, that’s our strength. If we play good defense, we can be in every game. If we manage some offense, then we have a chance to win.

“We’re able to win close games this year. We didn’t do that last year.”

Holy Cross won another during the week against Cornerstone Christian in the Knights’ gym. Andrade (16 points), Salinas (11), Gonzalez (10) and Bryanna Solis (9 points) were the top scorers as Holy Cross scored all 10 of its fourth-quarter points at the free-throw stripe.

“Unfortunately, we put ourselves in that position,” Arguello said. “I told the girls every game has its own personality, so expect it to be different when we play Cornerstone again. We need to play consistent defense all four quarters.”

The Knights get back into district play this week with a game at San Antonio Christian Tuesday and a trip to Corpus Christi Incarnate Word Saturday.

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