EDINBURG — The Edinburg Economedes Jaguars held off the McAllen Rowe Warriors for a 67-60 win Saturday afternoon at Economedes High School.
The Jaguars (8-2, 2-0) and Warriors (6-3, 0-0) have been two of the Rio Grande Valley’s top teams this season and showed why as Economedes and Rowe battled from jump ball to the final buzzer.
The Jaguars took a nine-point lead into the break behind the play of a pair of juniors in Michael Barrientos and Ray De Leon. Barrientos scored 14 of his 16 points during the second quarter, as De Leon added eight during the opening half.
It was all De Leon during the second half, as the junior forward scored 22 second-half points to lead the Jaguars past the Warriors. De Leon also racked up five assists and three blocks on the defensive end of the floor.
With only seven players dressed due to injuries, the Warriors erased a 14-point second half deficit to make it a three-point game at 61-58 with under a minute to play.
McAllen Rowe head coach Jose Yebra turned to a press and the Warriors responded by forcing the Jaguars to turn the ball over.
Patrick Tarbutton and Darren Manriquez led Rowe’s attempted comeback as Tarbutton had a team-high 21 points, while Manriquez added 15.
Economedes’ De Leon was the star of the show, however, as he finished with a game-high 30 points. It’s the fifth time the Jaguars’ junior has scored 30 or more points this season.
Next for Economedes is a District 31-6A matchup against Mission High at 7 p.m. Friday at Mission High School. Meanwhile, the Warriors will attempt to bounce back with two games this week beginning with Brownsville Pace at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Rowe High School, and the rival McAllen High Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Saturday.
LOADED DISTRICT 32-6A
District play has yet to start for 32-6A squads, but expect an exciting race to the finish once it does.
District 32-6A is loaded with a trio of talented teams — Harlingen South, Los Fresnos and Weslaco High.
Both the Harlingen South Hawks and Los Fresnos Falcons are off to 9-1 starts through 10 games this season, while the Weslaco High Panthers are hot on their tails at 8-2.
The Hawks have proved they belong with wins over McAllen Memorial and McAllen Rowe in overtime.
Meanwhile, Los Fresnos lost a deep senior class to graduation, but the 2020-21 Falcons have picked up right where last year’s group left off. Sophomore Gerry Martinez is averaging 19.9 points this season to lead Los Fresnos.
Weslaco High has the potential to not just secure a playoff spot in District 32-6A, but to challenge Harlingen South and Los Fresnos for the district title. The Panthers went two rounds deep into the playoffs a season ago and are off to another hot start this year.
And Harlingen High just delivered one of the most exciting wins of the early season on Saturday the Cardinals outlasted Brownsville St. Joseph 79-74 in three overtimes.