By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
KYLE – Cutting no slack on the defensive end, the Hays Rebels asserted themselves early Friday night in a 56-24 high school girls basketball win at Lehman.
The Lobos scored only one point in the first quarter as the swarming Hays defense built a 13-1 lead. By then, the game was all but over. The Rebels upped their advantage to 31-11 at halftime.
Preferring to run fast break and full-court pressure, Lehman exhibited none of that energy in the second half while the Rebels continued increasing their lead. As the second half progressed, Lehman posed little resistance to Hays on the offensive end while the Rebels consistently positioned shooters under the basket and set up in prime rebounding locations.
“They just got down a little bit,” said Lehman coach Danny Preuss about his team.
Lehman relied in the second half on jump shooting from BriAnna Garza, whose 13 points included three three-point field goals. E.J. Joyner led Hays with 17 points, followed by 13 for Shelby Calabrese.
“In the first half (Joyner) was the only one who could score,” Hays coach Donny McDonald said. “Just think if she knew the offense.”
The Rebels now are 17-2 overall and 2-0 in District 17-4A, where they’re tied for first place with Del Valle (16-2, 2-0). The Cardinals won, 51-38, Friday night at San Marcos behind 17 points from Shonay Washington. Jasmine Williams led San Marcos (12-8, 0-1) with 15 points.
San Marcos took the early lead at 15-10 through the first quarter, but managed only 13 points over the next two quarters as Del Valle extended a 25-20 halftime lead to 39-28 after three quarters.
The Rebels play Del Valle at home on Jan. 9, following the Bastrop Tournament (Dec. 29-31), then a home game against Manor (Jan. 2) and a road game at San Marcos (Jan. 6). The Rebels also have seven days off from practice over the holiday. The University Interscholastic League requires five days.
McDonald expressed typical reservations about the break, considering that he likes how his team is playing. The Rebels have no true point or post, they have no great scorer or obviously superior athlete, but they go deep in sure-footed players with basketball posture who sit down and guard.
Their success to this point is no surprise to Preuss, McDonald’s long-time assistant at Hays before he launched the Lehman program. The Lobos are 9-10 and 1-1, prompting Preuss to say the positive he’ll take out of the game is that his team is 1-1 in the league.
“From the git go, I put it as Hays winning the district,” Preuss said. “I put Hays being undefeated in district.”
Preuss’ Lehman program remains a bit behind Hays in the offseason aspect. While Mark Jones coaches up the Rebels in summer play, Preuss said there’s no real equivalent initiative working at Lehman, although, he added, it’s starting to happen at the younger levels.
“They play basketball,” Preuss said of the Hays operation. “They get to know each other from playing.”