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MISSION – The Sharyland Lady Rattlers could not have asked for a better start in their bi-district matchup with the Harlingen Lady Cardinals. Behind the solid play of Monica Salinas, Clarissa Suarez and Savannah Prichard, Sharyland jumped out to a 16-2 lead before turnovers doomed them the rest of the way, allowing Harlingen to escape with a 51-45 win on the road.

The quick lead was actually spurred by Harlingen’s three turnovers while not turning the ball over. When Prichard got a steal and a subsequent fast break basket, her team was up 10-2, appearing focused and committed to continue the lead. Six points later the feeling was the same.

Then, suddenly, it all came apart. The Lady Cardinals’ full-court press caused their opponent to commit eight turnovers in three-minute span that the District 31 champs took advantage of beautifully. Before Shary knew what was going on, the a promising first quarter finished with them down one at 17-16.

Unfortunately, Shary couldn’t stop their bleeding that was turnovers, committing 14 more in the second and third quarters.

Down nine at the end of the third, the Lady Rattlers came into the fourth determined to not go down without a fight. The defense was superb as Suarez came up with three steals that all turned in to points. When Suarez got a steal with just less than four minutes remaining and then found Laura Eberly for two-points, Shary cut the lead to five.

Having only scored three points in the first three quarters, it was Eberly’s play that really sparked the Lady Rattlers. When the senior scored her sixth fourth quarter point, the Harlingen lead was cut to one at 43-42 and it appeared the home team had the needed momentum to again take the lead.

It wasn’t to be however, as the team ran out of gas and their opponent was able to make the needed stops and the clutch free throws to pull out the victory.

The loss concluded the season for the Lady Rattlers. Finishing the season as the District 30-5A runner-ups, Sharyland won its second consecutive bi-district championship by beating Laredo Nixon a week ago Monday.

GAME MVP: Clarissa Suarez. The senior guard scored fifteen points as well as made some key stops for her team in the fourth quarter, including three steals.

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