Hays Lady Rebels sophomore post Trista Strasser discovered Friday sometimes fate can quite literally fall right into your hands.
Trailing by a point late in the game, Strasser secured a critical offensive rebound and knocked down a go-ahead bucket with time winding down to give Hays a stunning 40-39 season opening win over Houston Aldine.
Strasser’s shot capped a wild come-from-behind win for a Rebel squad that outscored Aldine 19-1 in the fourth quarter. For Strasser, who saw her first action on the basketball court since the volleyball season ended Oct. 30, the moment provided a boost of confidence for her and her teammates.
“It means that no matter what happens in the rest of the game, I can still do it, and to stay positive the whole game, even if I don’t play so well in the first half,” Strasser said.
Hays (1-0) struggled mightily for most of the contest, scoring 19 total points through the first three quarters.
Danny Preuss, Lady Rebel head basektball coach, said Hays’ youth showed “a bit tonight,” but lauded his team’s ability to battle back. Despite struggles on offense, Preuss said he continued to encourage his players to shoot the ball. Hays trailed Aldine 38-19 heading into the fourth frame.
“I knew that we had to get some shots to fall,” Preuss said. “If we had some shots fall, we could get momentum going.”
The Rebel defense also shut down production from Aldine senior guard Aldayshein Adrian, who finished with 18 points. Utilization of the box-and-one zone defense, which the Rebels had not practiced before Friday’s game, limited Adrian to one point in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Hays discovered stroke on offense, led by sophomore Lily Guevara, who scored 12 of her team-high 20 points in the fourth frame. Preuss said once players cut Aldine’s lead to 10 points, “they knew they had a chance.”
“I told them, ‘Hey, it’s going to get better, I have faith in you,’” he said.
The momentum carried into the waning seconds, when Strasser’s bucket gave the Rebels their first lead at 40-39 with less that 10 seconds left in the game. Hays’ defense held firm in the final seconds and prevented Aldine from knocking down a bucket at the buzzer.
But the work begins for Preuss and his staff, which continue to develop its young roster.
“I’m pleased with the victory, but we have a lot of work to do,” Preuss said.
Strasser finished with four points, while Hays’ Madison Logan finished with five points.
Hays travels to play at the Bowie Tournament this weekend. The Lady Rebels host Elgin Nov. 20.