By Clara Sandoval
LAREDO, Texas – The Laredo Alexander vs. Laredo United girls basketball rivalry is one of the most heated in the Gateway City – and Friday’s night game lived up to the hype.
Laredo United held off a late surge to edge Laredo Alexander 76-74 in overtime. With the victory Laredo United moves into second place in District 30-6A behind Laredo United South.
Laredo United (22-7, 5-1) was able to ice four free throws in the final 25 seconds of overtime to pull out the victory. The Lady Longhorns blew an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter as Laredo Alexander outscored them 24-13 to send the game into overtime.
Sophomore Jesslynn Jalomo, who finished with 24 points, hit a free throw to give Laredo United a 64-59 lead heading into the final minute of regulation. On the ensuing trip down the court Laredo Alexander’s Jaci Rendon connected on a three-pointer to make it a 64-62 game with 46.6 seconds left.
Laredo United’s Ashley Vallin, who scored 22 points, went hard to the basket and was fouled in the process sending her to the free throw line. She hit both free throws to give the Lady Longhorns a 66-62 lead with 24.4 seconds left in regulation.
Laredo Alexander senior Sophie Villalobos hit a layup to make it a 66-64 game with 16.6 seconds left. On the ensuing play Laredo Alexander was forced to foul sending junior Rebekah Beltran to the free throw line with 13.1 seconds left on the clock. She missed both free throws as Laredo Alexander’s Kayla Herrera grabbed the rebound, raced down the court and was fouled in the paint. She nailed both of her free throws with 8.1 seconds left to make it a 66-66 game and send it to overtime.
The Lady Bulldogs took their first lead of the game in overtime as Villalobos hit a basket to give Laredo Alexander a 68-66 lead at the 3:25 mark. Vallin came down the court and hit a layup to knot the game up.
Herrera, who finished with a game-high 30 points, came down the court and connected on a three-pointer to give Laredo Alexander a 71-68 lead. Laredo United countered with back-to-back baskets by Vallin and Cris Rodriguez to put the Lady Longhorns ahead 72-71 with 53 seconds left in overtime.
Laredo Alexander came down the court and put up a series of shots that finally found the hands of Christina Sandoval who was able to connect on a basket inside the paint and was fouled in the process to give the Lady Bulldogs a 73-72 lead with 39.6 seconds. Sandoval missed the free throw.
Vallin got fouled and hit two free throws with 23.7 seconds left to give Laredo United a 74-73 lead. Jalomo added two free throws with 10.3 seconds left to make it a 76-73 game.
Laredo Alexander (15-10, 3-2) had one last opportunity at the basket and Samantha Carranza was fouled with 3 seconds left on the clock. She made her first free throw and missed the rim on the second one, thus nullifying the basket that was made by Laredo Alexander.
Laredo United had the last possession and inbounded the ball. Herrera stole the ball and was able to get a shot off that went in, but it was ruled that it did not leave her hand before the clock expired.