Marble Falls rides past Tigers in close contest

Dripping Springs’ Lady Tigers basketball three game win streak was snapped Friday night in Tiger Gym after a grueling 47-44 loss to the Marble Falls Lady Mustangs.

The Lady Tigers struggled in the first quarter as they appeared ambivalent to the Mustang’s full-court press by conceding five turnovers and scoring only six points. It allowed Marble Falls to jump out to a 15-6 lead going into the second frame.

Dripping Springs’ senior Nicole Nading looks for a shot under the basket and the outstretched arm of Marble Falls’ Meghan Owens. Getting shots off and rebounding was a tall order for the Tigers, who were at a height disadvantage against Marble Falls, but one the Lady Tigers almost overcame. (photo by Wayland D. Clark)

Dripping Springs’ senior Nicole Nading looks for a shot under the basket and the outstretched arm of Marble Falls’ Meghan Owens. Getting shots off and rebounding was a tall order for the Tigers, who were at a height disadvantage against Marble Falls, but one the Lady Tigers almost overcame. (photo by Wayland D. Clark)

“Disappointing,” said Dripping Springs Head Coach Laura Joiner when asked how to describe her team’s play to start the game. “I thought we came out timid, tentative and that’s not what we talked about doing before the game.”

In the second quarter, the Lady Tigers began to play with more energy and confidence on both sides of the ball. However, they were facing multiple height disadvantages and the Lady Mustangs continued to capitalize in the paint.

Even when the Mustangs missed their shots inside, their distinct height advantages helped them out-rebound the Tigers 38 to 20, with much of their 38 rebounds coming on offense.

Facing a 24-13 deficit coming out of halftime, Joiner and the Tigers knew they had to up their intensity.

Trying to offset the Mustangs’ advantages inside, the Tigers began to press out on Marble Falls’ guards.

Nevertheless, the Lady Mustangs pounded the ball inside or retrieved an offensive-rebound for an easy put-back score.

The fourth quarter began similar to the first three. Trailing 33-21, the Lady Tigers worked the ball on offense, finding the open player and scoring the rock. Marble Falls’ height advantage, however, seemed to be Dripping Springs’ kryptonite.

As Marble Falls took a 42-29 lead with just over six minutes to play, the script flipped.

The Lady Tigers channeled consistent intensity down the stretch in the form of a full-court press.

“We tried to press them from our 1-3-1 half-court set, because we really have never pressed this year from the full … We didn’t want to change completely as a team and who we are, but we knew we had to do something.” Laura Joiner, head coach

Dripping Springs tallied seven unanswered points, eventually cutting Marble Falls lead to 47-40 with just under a minute to play.

After a steal from the Tigers’ leading rebounder Danielle Northrup, point guard Cassie Louthan hit a three-pointer to cut the Mustangs’ lead to 47-43 with just over 50 seconds left. 

Lady Tigers’s defensive specialist Madi North tallied another steal, which led to Louthan sinking a key free throw to make it a 47-44 game with 21.2 seconds left.

The Tigers had another chance to tie the game following a pair of missed Marble Falls free throws.

But with four seconds on the clock and no timeouts, Dripping Springs was forced to move the ball up the floor for a last-second shot attempt.

However, the game ended anti-climactically after a controversial no-call following a major collision between a Marble Falls player and North at midcourt.

Joiner said the Tigers aim to fix their mistakes and learn from this loss in preparation for the latter part of their upcoming schedule.

“Looking back, I’m obviously frustrated when I think about how we came to play in the first half,” said Joiner. “But then I see how these girls competed and played their hearts out and I just can’t help but think, ‘Gosh, I love this team’ – I love the effort, the determination, all the things you want from your team – we’ve just got to understand it has to be a 32-minute thing.”

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