The Dripping Springs Lady Tigers extended their win streak to three games after a strong second half paved the way to a 54-42 comeback victory against Boerne-Champion on parent night Friday in Tiger Gym.
The game, however, did not start according to plan, said Lady Tigers head coach Laura Joiner.
“Both teams knew it was a big game with only a one point difference in the districts fourth place spot,” said Joiner. “We were tentative, hesitant – we were playing not to lose, whereas they came as the aggressor, the team trying to win.”
Although Dripping Springs consistently found holes in the Chargers 2-3 zone, poor shooting plagued them in the first half.
In addition to their poor shooting, the Lady Tigers struggled on defense as they allowed Boerne to hit four three-pointers, which contributed to more than half of their 23 first half points.
One silver lining in the first half for the Tigers was their passing. Joiner said she has preached the importance of ball movement all season long and the Tigers listened Friday night, assisting on their first five field goals helping keep the game close.
Down 23-20 at halftime, Joiner told her team to up their intensity, along with not playing to lose and to start playing to win.
Dripping Springs followed its coach’s instructions in the second half.
A renewed intensity translated into 18 third quarter points for the Tigers, which also limited Boerne Champion to seven points.
Dripping Springs’ defense also created offense. It was most evident midway through the third quarter as the Tigers forced three turnovers in a row.
The turnovers ignited the Tigers offense, leading to back-to-back three-point plays from Tigers’ senior point guard Kaylen Morrison and freshman forward Sarah Nading.
“The mentality was different, the effort was different, the desire was different,” Joiner said. “I told them defense is about effort, desire and heart and it’s not something that requires talent and I just really felt our girls really responded, changing from, let’s not lose to let’s go take this.”
Not only did Tiger senior point guard Kaylen Morrison led the team with a career-high 25 points, she also led the team with three assists.
Morrison forwarded credit to her coaches and teammates.
“I just made some shots, and our coach gave us a nice pep talk at halftime,” Morrison said. “She told us we have to go out and take this, we have to get after it, we’re in fourth place right now so we need to wake up and win this so we can make playoffs.”
Up 38-30 going into the fourth and final quarter, the Tigers seemed poised to eat as much clock as possible.
Although they started only 1 for 5 from the field in the fourth quarter, Dripping Springs’ patient offensive approach frustrated the Chargers into fouling. Ten of Dripping Springs’ 16 fourth quarter points came from the free-throw line.
The Chargers continued to score, but the deficit proved too much and Dripping Springs held on and completed the comeback.
Despite struggling from the field, Danielle Northrup found alternative ways to contribute to the win by cleaning the glass with a game-high 12 rebounds and securing three steals.
The Lady Tigers improved to 19-9 and are back in action Tuesday January 31 as they host the Medina Valley Panthers.