The Lady Cougars put a capper on the first half of their latest, greatest soccer season with a clutch 1-0 win at EHS Tuesday, scoring with less than six minutes to go to break a scoreless tie.

The Lady Bobcats (4-3 after the loss), dug in all night and played fine defense led by junior stopper Andrea Solis, and though North (7-0) got 15 shots on goal, the EHS stoppers were up to the task.

But then, Sammie Gutierrez popped a looping thru ball down the middle, and senior Katy Lipscomb located it and coaxed one past Lady ‘Cat keeper Adriana Lopez with 5:41 to go in the game.

Edinburg, somewhat flat on offense for much of the contest, managed a couple of prime opportunities late, including one from Alyssa Perez in the game’s final seconds. But Lady Coog Vicky Dominguez stepped in to deny Perez, and North had escaped with the win, ending the first half of District 31-5A play unbeaten.

Coach Danny Valdez’ team, which had taken five playoff triumphs the past two seasons, is ranked No. 1 in the Valley and had won 17 straight games heading into the weekend. Included in that perfect mark was a 2-0 upset of Harlingen South two weeks back, the first league loss by the Lady Hawks in three seasons.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL: EHS EXPIRES

IN AREA AGAINST McALLEN

Down to the wire it went but the Lady Bobcats fell two points short of advancing to the third round of the basketball playoffs.

Ali Bills scored 26 points and the Lady Bulldogs made 10 of 11 free throws in the fourth period as McAllen High knocked off Edinburg, 53-51, Friday night at Palmview High.

EHS (29-8) had defeated San Benito in bi-district, and led for much of the first half against McAllen (29-7). But the Lady ‘Dogs, who won 35 games and went to the regional tournament in San Antonio last year, made the plays when they needed to, and converted seven three-point shots, four from sophomore point guard Joanna Reyes.

The Lady ‘Cats got 22 points from departing senior Yadi Salinas and 13 in a fine effort from junior Anaka Garcia, but they fell down by seven in the third and a late rally came up short when Christy Garza of McAllen made four charity tosses in the final minute.

Graduating off this excellent EHS squad will be Salinas, Maddy Lopez and Trish Lopez, leaving Laura Torres and Bianca Casas to carry the load in their junior campaigns to come along with senior Garcia, who had 11 points in the first half and should be poised to take over for the Twin Towers inside for Coach Rachel Carmona.

Meanwhile, the Lady Cougars of North, making their second straight playoff appearance, dropped out in bi-district with a 51-42 loss to Weslaco last week. North got 11 points from Brandy Garcia and overcame a slow start to battle the Lady Panthers, who were led by junior Kimberly Armstrong’s 27-point, 13-rebound effort.

Though the Lady Cougars (21-15 to end) fought back in the second period, the Lady Panthers assumed control with a couple of 8-point runs and led by as many as 17 in the third.

Senior Brittany Coronado, in her last game for the Gold, contributed 11 points, including seven in the third period.

SOFTBALL

In softball action, close games were the order last week. Edinburg opened the Mission Tournament with a loss to highly regarded Brownsville Porter, after having beaten McAllen High, 4-2, earlier in the week to begin the regular season. The Lady ‘Cats then blanked Weslaco East before losing to Weslaco Friday, 1-0. They ended there as all consolation bracket games were rained out Saturday.

North walloped Laredo United, 8-1 and then won its first-round game at Mission over Raymondville, 6-0. After a 4-2 win against a tough Sharyland unit, the Lady Coogs lost a nailbiter to Kingsville, 1-0, the eventual tourney champ.

The rebuilding Econ Jags dropped a 5-2 decision to Mission Vets at the same tournament, and then came back with a 1-1 showing Friday, beating P-SJ-A after losing to Zapata, 2-1.

BASEBALL: SEASON OPENS TUESDAY

The regular season was set to start Monday with Edinburg North in action at home against Rio Grande City. Econ, led by new coach J.J. Serda, was to play at McAllen that night. The defending champ EHS Bobcats drew a home game against Valley View Tuesday, in new coach Robert Valdez’ debut at the helm.

The Runnin’ Bobcats of EHS were set to take the playoff plunge, with a 7 p.m. matchup against Los Fresnos in a bi-district hoops game over in La Feria.