By KEFF CIARDELLO
The Lady Lobos gave head coach Jamie Coy a birthday present to remember as they clinched the Bronze Bracket title at the Rebel Classic basketball tournament at Hays High School on Saturday.
After the Lady Lobos knocked off San Marcos 54-49 in the Bronze Bracket title game, Coy was met by her players with cake, balloons and a plaque.
The Lady Lobos rebounded to win their final two games in the tournament against the Lady Rattlers and Palestine after losing their first two.
“This is one of the best birthday presents I’ve received,” Coy said after the victory over San Marcos. “This is great, and I’m glad we finished the way we did, but I didn’t like the way we started the tournament. I don’t think anybody is happy with that or at least they shouldn’t be.”
After losing their second game of the tournament to Pflugerville Hendrickson on Friday after a loss against the tourney’s eventual third-place finisher Incarnate Word on Thursday, Coy tried to fire up her team.
“We talked about hustle and intensity,” said Coy. “We’ve lacked that sometimes and that’s how we get beat running up and down the floor, especially playing against the teams we’re playing. When we play our game and listen to coaching, it’s amazing what we can accomplish.”
Later that day, the Lady Lobos took their coach’s advice and came out with more fire when they faced Palestine. The Lobos took the lead early and never looked back in a 52-43 win to advance to Saturday’s Bronze Bracket title game.
“That win was big. Not just to stay alive in the tournament but for our team. We needed that for our confidence,” said guard Olivia Marzullo. “As you play, you progress and learn. As we went on in this tournament we learned how to play as a team.”
That team chemistry was on full display for the Lady Lobos during their final game of the tournament versus San Marcos.
Facing an early 5-0 deficit, the Lobos went on 9-1 run to take a 10-6 lead. In the second quarter, Marzullo hit a 3-pointer that gave Lehman a 28-23 advantage. After a stop on defense, Ashley Stephens hit a turnaround jump shot just before halftime to give the Lobos a 30-23 lead at the break.
The Lobos would take their biggest lead of the game 43-30 in the third quarter. Strong inside rebounding by Stephens and Ariana Gallegos kept the Lobos going and Marzullo’s up-tempo pace from the point guard position kept the Rattlers from catching their breath.
San Marcos would almost catch up to Lehman in the fourth quarter, however, cutting the gap to 48-47, but and offensive rebound and layup by Stephens and Marzullo’s clutch free throws sealed the win.
Marzullo finished with 16 points against San Marcos. Stephens added 10 points, while Gallegos scored nine points for the Lady Lobos against the Lady Rattlers.
The Lady Lobos open district play this week as they face the Hays Rebels on Friday at Bales Gym. Lehman beat Hays for the first time in the history of the girls varsity basketball program last year. This year, the Lady Lobos not only seek to repeat last year’s success but are looking to take it a step further.
“We plan to sweep Hays this year,” said Coy.
The Lady Lobos and Lady Rebels are scheduled to tipoff Friday night in an energy-filled Bales Gym at 7 p.m.