Hays forward Dre Green spotted up on the perimeter, waiting for a pass from Charles Bohannon. Once his defender helped too much on Bohannon’s drive to the rim, Green was wide-open and converted a 3-pointer.
The bucket cut the Vista Ridge Rangers’ lead to 11 points with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Green kept the hot hand, knocking down two more 3-pointers to further cut into the Ranger lead.
But Green’s furious flurry wasn’t enough to topple Vista Ridge, which still escaped with a 62-54 victory Friday night.
Green’s final 3-pointer of the fourth quarter, which was his fifth 3-pointer in what was a 19-point performance, cut Vista Ridge’s lead to six points.
Vista Ridge, however, effectively put the game away by weaving through a Rebel full-court press for a wide-open dunk. The Rangers made five of six free throws in the last 30 seconds to earn their 17th victory of the season.
“They’re a good basketball team, but we’re a good basketball team too and we are just trying to get better every time we step foot on the court,” said Hays coach Matthew Sandoval.
Vista Ridge controlled the game after taking a 17-16 lead late in the first quarter. The Rebels, which dropped to 6-18 overall and 1-4 in district, were unable to fully recover until the final few minutes.
Sandoval said the Rebels made progress during the game by fighting for rebounds and “scrapping for loose balls.
“We did a lot of good things and I’m proud of our kids but we are disappointed that we came up short,” Sandoval said.
Sandoval said the Rangers were a more athletic team that used their athleticism to “beat us to the basket a few times.”
Vista Ridge’s experience also played a role, Sandoval said. While Vista Ridge players had varsity experience, Sandoval said the Rebels had “several guys” on junior varsity last year.
“It’s a big difference,” Sandoval said. “We are still getting there.”
Hays will travel to take on Lake Travis Friday before squaring off against state-ranked Westlake Jan. 27 at Bales Gym.
“They all want to win and they are understanding what needs to be done to get there,” Sandoval said. “We’re closing that gap.”