A fourth place finish out of 24 teams was how the Hays Lady Rebels basketball team closed its run as co-hosts of the Hays CISD tournament held Nov. 29-Dec. 1.
The Lady Rebels finished with a 3-2 record during tournament play. In addition, sophomore post Trista Strasser and sophomore forward Lily Guevara earned all-tournament honors.
Hays (8-8) went undefeated in pool play with wins over LBJ and Bastrop. On Nov. 29, the Lady Rebels opened Championship Bracket play with a 57-45 victory over McNeil, but later dropped the semifinal game to Austin High 40-28.
Hays struggled to recover as it fell to San Marcos 62-31 in the third place game Dec. 1.
“I thought we were, for the most part, playing more like a team a little bit and that’s what we’ve been trying to do,” Hays head coach Danny Preuss said. “We knocked down some shots in games, which is good. Because when you don’t hit shots, like today, we didn’t hit anything, when you hit shots you feel better about yourself and I think you play better.”
Guevera and Strasser earned honors for dominant play across the tournament. Guevera led the Lady Rebels by averaging 13.2 points and snagging 7.8 rebounds over the five games played. Strasser crashed the glass by averaging 13 rebounds and 4.6 blocks in the tournament.
Strasser was one block shy of a triple double in games against Bastrop and McNeil.
“She (Strasser) can do that every game though,” Preuss said. “She is still growing and trying to learn her body and all that stuff, but yeah she is coming on and we need her to come on.”
Preuss said the win over McNeil was a game changer for his young team as they continue to build confidence before continuing district play. Preuss said it was a “payback game,” as McNeil topped Hays earlier in the season.
“That’s how I think my team has grown, because we lost by 15 (to McNeil) at the Bowie tournament and we won by 12 here. That’s a twenty-seven point swing right there,” Preuss said.
In the two losses versus Austin High and San Marcos, the Lady Rebels were unable to limit turnovers and did not hit enough shots to keep up with the competition.
Despite the setbacks, Preuss liked how his team responded to adversity against quality opponents.
“It seemed like during this tournament against the better teams, like Austin High, and maybe the first half against San Marcos … that we were kind of conducting ourselves more as a basketball team rather than just look like we are trying to pretend to be one,” Preuss said. “I think that’s hopefully what we are evolving into as a basketball team that can kind of play against anybody. That’s what we need to do.”
Preuss added that he wants to see his team improve by hitting more shots and playing better defense.
“We are always saying working well as a team and communicating, but I think a lot of it with these young ones is just go out and play and have fun and play hard,” Preuss said. “If you make some shots and play a little defense maybe you get the win.”