A loss of composure down the stretch was one of several factors that hurt the Hays Rebels in a 72-65 district loss to the Del Valle Cardinals Saturday at Bales Gym.
Matt Sandoval, Rebel head coach, said struggles in avoiding emotional fouls in the final two quarters gave Del Valle ample opportunity to rally back for the win.
“If you want to be a good team, you have to stay composed. We didn’t do a good job of staying composed. We let the calls affect us,” Sandoval said.
Hays (13-11, 2-5 in district play) limited a potent Del Valle offense to 27 points in the first half. Use of a 2-3 zone defense forced Del Valle’s offense to attack from the perimeter, which led to success for Hays.
Strong rebounding, along with consistent offense, gave Hays an edge in the first two frames. Del Valle led 19-15 in the first quarter, but Hays fought back to take a 31-27 lead at intermission.
Rebel senior Noah Fultz led the charge by scoring 10 of his team-high 16 points in the first half. Helping Fultz was senior Tiras Morton, who finished with 15 points, along with an 11-point effort from Luke Watson.
Hays kept momentum going and maintained a 40-38 lead with 4:05 left in the third frame. The wheels came off the Rebels’ wagon soon after.
A technical foul against Hays, which was then shortly followed by an intentional foul, allowed Del Valle to turn the tide and recapture the advantage. A 9-2 Cardinals run helped Del Valle take a 47-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Del Valle turned to guards Xi’an Todman and Caleb Harris to carry the load in the fourth quarter. Todman and Harris combined to score 41 of the Cardinal’s 72 total points in the game. Todman scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.
As the midpoint of the district season approaches, Hays now falls three games behind state-ranked Lake Travis in the chase for fourth in the district.
“I thought we did good in some areas, but to be a good team, you have to stay composed. We just didn’t stay composed tonight and that cost us the game,” Sandoval said.
Hays hosts Anderson Friday at 7:30 p.m. to complete the first half of district play. The second round begins Jan. 15 on the road at Bowie High.