GIRLS BASKETBALL: Harlandale defeats Brack, finds way back to playoffs

Eagles force tiebreaker with win over Mustangs

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Harlandale, Jefferson.



Young teams from Brackenridge and Harlandale have seemingly been on a collision course all year, which eventually extended into the postseason.

Although Brackenridge struck the first blow, Harlandale won the next two games. Those included the one that put the Indians (16-17, 9-7) into the playoffs, a 61-53 triumph Feb. 13 at Lanier in the District 28-5A fourth-place tiebreaker game.

“Our first round (of district play), we were still trying to jell and get used to each other,” Harlandale coach Jackie Contreras said. “We were still making mistakes. Then we beat Brack, and that was huge for us. We lost a couple in the second round to Lanier and Sam Houston, when we couldn’t finish.

“We learned from the season and took it into Friday’s game. We’re very happy we came out on top. The girls were really ecstatic.”

Harlandale was scheduled to play District 27-5A champ San Marcos (29-6) Tuesday, Feb. 17 in a bi-district game. Other area playoff qualifiers were Brooks Academy, East Central, Highlands, Holy Cross, Lanier, Sam Houston, Southside and Southwest.

The Indians advanced to the tiebreaker game because of a 44-43 loss to second-place Sam Houston (18-8, 13-3) Feb. 10. Brackenridge (14-21, 9-7) blasted Jefferson (6-24, 3-13) 66-38 that day at Alamo Convocation Center to ascend to fourth.

“We’ve had a hard season,” Brackenridge coach Tamiko Matthews said after the win over Jefferson. “We’ve been injured., but I feel like now we’re on schedule.

“We started off the season young and inexperienced at all positions. Add to that the injuries, but we’re still fourth.”

Brackenridge had defeated the Indians 66-49 Dec. 16. The Indians gained revenge Jan. 23 with a 56-50 win. In their final meeting, Harlandale outscored the Eagles 12-0 in the first quarter and never trailed.

Kayla Nunez led the Indians with 21 points. Senior Elizabeth Herrera provided 12 points and Christi Ricondo finished with 11. Fawzieh Saleh added eight points.

“We did come out very strong,” Contreras said. “The girls were confident. We really wanted it badly. We took care of Skyler (Reyna). That was our main focus.”

Senior guard Clarissa Rodriguez led Brackenridge with 17 points. Reyna scored 14.

The Eagles outscored Jefferson 33-0 from three-point range. The hot shooting began after Brackenridge had established a 10-4 lead. Softball standout Alyssa Berlanga (16 points) came off the bench to add eight quick points, starting with a three-pointer from the right wing.

“We had another game against McCollum (where we shot like this),” said Rodriguez, who made a team-best five 3-pointers and finished with 21 points. “We were more confident today. With Berlanga and I, as soon as we hit a shot, we get on fire.”

Mustangs guard Angela Hardcastle, who six straight points to bring Jefferson within 52-28 with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter recorded a team-high 15 points.

“We only have one senior on the team,” Jefferson coach Tammy Beresford said. “It’s a whole new group. They’re still learning how to play with each other. We’re building for next year.”

Reyna contributed 12 points and Miranda Sandoval added seven for the Eagles.

“It’s my senior year,” Rodriguez said. “I just wanted to go to the playoffs.”

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