By Moses Leos III
The premise was simple in Friday night’s District tiebreaker game between Hays High and Boerne Champion: Win and get in the playoffs. Lose, your season ends.
Hays put forth a top-notch performance in Schertz on Friday night, highlighted by a furious fourth quarter rally. However, Champion would hold on late, eventually winning 53-46, ending the Rebels’ season one game shy of reaching the playoffs for the second straight season.
Early on, Hays created a quagmire for themselves, as the offense struggled to knock down shots. The Rebels would hit only one bucket in the first eight minutes, eventually falling behind 12-2. Despite a much more efficient second quarter, Hays’ shooting woes, along with strong defense and timely shooting by Champion, would eventually place the Rebs into a 27-13 halftime deficit.
“At halftime, we just kept telling ourselves that we could not give up. We knew that this was our last game. We had to play hard,” said junior guard Jacob Rodriguez, who scored a team high 11 points on the evening.
The Rebs began the second half on a roll, concocting a 5-1 run in the initial four minutes of play, cutting into the Charger lead. However, Champion’s fast paced offense kept Hays an arm’s length away, increasing the Rebel deficit to as many as fourteen points.
Hays put together a furious fourth quarter rally, aided by strong three-point shooting of Rodriguez and sophomore wing Nathaniel Alvarado, who also finished with 11 points. Along with a strong pressure defense, Hays would whittle the Champion lead to only four with two minutes to play.
However, Hays could not overcome the final deficit, struggling to hit key shots down the stretch. Champion found ways to stay clutch in the waning moments, a theme which the Chargers personified all night long. Boerne Champion hit their shots when they needed them, while the Rebels could not.
“We did not come out as sharp as we usually do. Even so, our kids did not stop battling, no matter the score. I’m proud of their effort; their effort was great,” said Rebels head coach Dean McMullen.
With Friday’s loss, Hays’ season concludes with a 16-15 record. A full write up will be in the print edition of next week’s Hays Free Press.