STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
AUSTIN — The Marble Falls High School girls basketball team performed like the top seed representing District 26-5A in the opening round of the playoffs Feb. 12.
The Lady Mustangs (25-10, 13-1 co-champions of District 26-5A) crushed Austin LBJ 57-31 for a bi-district title.
“I thought it was a good job by the girls from the start of the game,” Marble Falls head coach John Berkman said.
Next up is Richmond Foster (22-13, 12-2 in District 27-5A), a 72-57 winner over San Antonio Brackenridge on Feb. 12. Foster, which finished second in its district. The game is 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at Bastrop Cedar Creek, 793 Union Chapel Road in Cedar Creek.
Against LBJ, Marble Falls raced to a 6-0 lead that went to 10-3 then 14-4 thanks to a layup by sophomore point guard Rylie Ulbricht, who scored just before the horn sounded to end the period.
That bucket began a 12-0 run thanks to senior posts Mya McMillian and Aubree Adams. By the half, Marble Falls led 33-6 after outscoring the Jaguars 19-2.
“We played solid defense,” Berkman said, adding coaches emphasized defensive intensity throughout the contest.
The Lady Mustangs used their defense to earn several buckets on the offensive end.
With such a lopsided lead, the question was could Marble Falls stay mentally in the contest? The answer was yes.
After LBJ scored the opening points of the third quarter, the Lady Mustangs went on a 10-0 run for a 43-7 advantage that forced the Jaguars into a timeout.
Berkman substituted freely with reserves getting the majority of the minutes throughout the fourth quarter.
He commended his players for staying in attack mode.
“That’s a huge part,” he said. “We definitely feel like we were mentally ready to go. And mentally staying in the game is the big battle.”
McMillian led all scorers with 18 points, 12 coming in the first half, followed by Adams with eight, junior high post Trinity Boyd with seven, senior post Aileen Neri with six, junior guard Emma Holcomb with five, Ulbricht with four, and junior guard Kaycie Jordan and sophomore guard T.J. Blum each with three.
Foster is led by junior point guard Micayla Hamilton, who averages 16 points, three assists, and three steals per game; freshman small forward Alicia Blanton, who averages 13 points and 11 rebounds per contest; and sophomore point guard Sharlyne Dimalanta, who averages nine points and two assists per game.
Blanton scored 28 points during the win against Brackenridge, while senior guard Hanna Brock added 14 points and Dimalanta scored 11 points.