The Dripping Springs Lady Tigers basketball team claimed fourth place honors and a 3-2 finish at the Hays CISD Classic Tournament last weekend.
In a pool with San Marcos and Victoria East High, Lady Tigers head coach Laura Joiner said her team had expectations of winning both pool games.
In its first game against San Marcos, Dripping Springs (11-4) exemplified the concept of sharing the ball on offense with five different players scoring more than five points in the game.
However dominant the offense appears on the stat sheet, Joiner believes that the Tigers defense is the “engine of the offense.”
In their second game against the Victoria East Lady Titans, sophomore guard Julia Graham, who was selected to the All-Tournament Team, finished the game with 21 points.
Graham averaged 13 points on 51 percent shooting, five deflections, and over two steals per game for the duration of the Classic.
While Graham was leading the scoring, junior forward Danielle Northrup was leading the effort on the boards.
Standing at only 5-feet, 9-inches, Northrup, who is two-sport athlete who’s committed to play softball at Campbell University in North Carolina, was the leading rebounder for the Lady Tigers securing 13 rebounds in the Victoria East game.
“She’s so strong,” said Joiner.“Physically strong, mentally strong; just tough as nails.”
Following the two wins, Dripping Springs earned a spot in the “Gold Bracket” for the first time in tournament history.
In the Gold Bracket quarterfinal game, the Lady Tigers upset the state ranked College Station Lady Cougars 43-36.
Graham scored 18 points, while Northrup secured 11 rebounds. Senior point guard Kaylen Morrison also contributed with 11 points, six rebounds and three assists. Junior point guard Cassie Louthan also had three assists.
Dripping Springs, however, came up short and fell to Killeen-Shoemaker in its semi-final matchup.
Although the Tigers were able to take a 23-21 halftime lead, they only managed to score four points in the entire third quarter.
The Lady Tigers regained composure in the fourth quarter. While shots began to fall again, the hole they had dug themselves proved too deep to overcome.
In the fifth and final game of the tournament, the Tigers lost the bronze-medal game to the Madison Mavericks, 43-33.
Although they “couldn’t buy a bucket” on offense, Joiner said she was proud of how her team competed on the defensive side of the ball. Morrison led the Tigers offense with nine points in the Madison game. Louthan also contributed eight points and three steals, while Northrup again had a game-high nine rebounds.
Joiner was pleased with her team’s performance and believes finishing fourth out of 24 teams will ignite confidence in her players as the Tigers begin district play.
“I just think our kids understand if we play well and get after it on defense, the scoring will come, and every game that we’re in we have a chance to win,” said Joiner. “I’ll take that any day.”