JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School girls basketball team got its first District 25-4A win with a 58-45 final against Leander Vandegrift on Jan. 7.
Going into the contest, Lady Mustangs head coach Chris Jost said his players needed a win for confidence and to start climbing up the division standings.
“We’re still going to have to get two or three upsets to make the playoffs,” he said. “This win gives us momentum. We had a good crowd, the kids played well.”
The Lady Mustangs led throughout the contest, taking a 15-9 lead after the first period that went to 27-18 at the half and 46-32 at the end of the third.
“I was trying to create an up tempo and also ignite a spark,” Jost said. “We picked up on full-court man and also got off to a good start offensively. We hit shots and were fun to watch.”
What also helped was that sophomore post Reann Hall was simply unstoppable on the low block. She took the contact and was able to hit two-footers, making the Lady Vipers pay for not adjusting to her quickly enough, especially in rebounding.
Jost purposely moved senior guard Sarah Stripling to high post, allowing her to drive to the basket or set up teammates for perimeter shots or to get the ball to Hall.
“We were much more consistent in making plays throughout the game,” Jost said. “We cleaned up defensively. I thought our kids did a good job of handling their zone.”
When Stripling went back to playing on the perimeter, Vandegrift couldn’t stop her drives to the basket or her outside shooting.
“When Sarah is able to find spots she can hit from, it opens everything up for the team,” Jost said. “I thought Sarah played a smart game. She hit her first couple of shots, and it made a world of difference.”
The Lady Vipers began the final period on a 6-0 run and trimmed the deficit to 49-40.
After a timeout with two minutes 50 seconds remaining, Marble Falls went into its stall offense, chewing up 50 seconds on one possession and a minute on another.
Senior guards Blanca Fonseca and Stripling each made two free throws. Senior forward Haley Stephens and Stripling each stole the ball and scored a layup to give Marble Falls a 58-42 lead with 25 seconds remaining.
“The seniors really stepped up on our spread offense and took care of the ball and found each other and hit free throws,” Jost said.
“It felt good to play together as a team,” Stripling said. “Staying ahead was big for us. We made free throws down the stretch and had big steals at the end. Getting help from Reann, that was nice. Blanca played well, Haley took some shots. We’ve been encouraging her to do that.”
ON OFFENSE: points – (Marble Falls) Sarah Stripling 27, Reann Hall 18, Haley Stephens 9, Blanca Fonseca 4; (Vandegrift) Aspen Andrew 14, Wendy Wan 10, Madison Byrne 8, Kelen Kenol 6, Taylor Schiff 3, Emma Harrelson 2, Chloe Chappelle 2
RECORDS: Marble Falls is 12-11 overall and 1-4 in District 25-4A; Vandegrift is 1-4 in district play.
SUBVARSITY RESULTS: Marble Falls freshmen lost 30-16; Marble Falls junior varsity won 32-18.
UP NEXT: 7 p.m. Jan. 10, Marble Falls at Cedar Park Vista Ridge, 200 S. Vista Ridge Blvd. in Cedar Ridge
DISTRICT 25-4A STANDINGS:
Vista Ridge, 3-2
Cedar Park, 3-2
Dripping Springs, 1-4
Marble Falls, 1-4