MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School girls basketball team seized control of the contest from Baytown Sterling from the opening tip to take a 63-44 victory Thursday.
It was the second game for the Lady Mustangs (2-6) in the American Bank of Texas Tournament. “We told them to play hard, don’t have any letdowns,” said head coach Stephanie Gamble. “Let’s play as hard as we possibly can.”
Though Sterling trimmed the deficit, 8-6, Marble Falls went on a 13-3 run to end the first quarter, highlighted by junior guard Whitney Ulbricht’s three-pointer at the buzzer. That gave her team a 21-9 advantage.
The Lady Mustangs’ defense dictated much of their offense. They were able to limit Sterling to one shot per possession, swatted at balls to create steals and then made solid passers to teammates for layups.
By halftime, Marble Falls built a 40-20 lead.
Sterling began the third quarter on a 10-0 run. Still, Marble Falls withstood the initial storm and maintained a lead, 49-36.
The final period belonged to the Lady Mustangs. They simply outran Sterling to spots on the floor and never let up.
“We made layups, and that’s such a good thing,” Gamble said. “We did a great job of … finding the open person.”
She was happy with the first half, noting the team had a cushion and maintained it throughout the contest.
Sophomore post Kiara Etheridge finished with 22 points followed by Ulbricht’s 15, freshman guard Sarah Stripling’s 10, freshman post Haley Stephens’ eight and junior guard Kaitlyn Bible’s four.
“Everybody is going to have to be able to step up because it loosens the defense,” the coach said. “It frees everybody else and gives everybody looks. I kept trying to tell them to be an offensive threat. We still have a lot of kids who need confidence and need to step up.”
Gamble, who is a defensive-minded coach, noted her players got beat on a couple of backdoor layups, but added they adjusted and limited Sterling’s drives to the hoop.
“We did a good job of moving the ball around and seeing the open person,” she said. “A couple of times you’re trying to do a little too much. It’s exciting. It was a great game, especially coming off the loss. We took that and made it OK.”