Utilization of a deep roster made the difference for the Dripping Springs Tigers in a lopsided 58-33 district win Jan. 18 over the Crockett Cougars.
But now with the first half of district play under their belts, Tiger head coach Craig Swannack said his team must prepare for a challenging second round, including critical games against district leaders Reagan and LBJ.
“We know we’re going to get everyone’s best game the second time around,” Swannack said. “We’ve got to go out and make sure we’re improving in practice every single day because we know we’re going to get everyone’s best effort.”
Leading the charge for Dripping Springs Jan. 18 was Connor Parks, who scored a game-high 13 points, along with Enzo Arnold and Alema Louis contributing nine points each. In total, ten Tiger players recorded a point in the scorebook.
Swannack said the Tigers aim to play 10 players each game in order to utilize their depth as an effective weapon.
“We talk about the fact it could be any guy on any night. So we know that we have to make sure of that,” Swannack said. “It could be any guy, so we have to attack, attack, attack.”
Dripping Springs sprinted out to a 10-4 first quarter lead before Crockett crafted a response. Early Tiger turnover woes created opportunities for Crockett, which cut the Tiger lead to 12-9 after a quarter of play.
Crockett kept pace in the second frame and held the Tigers to a three-point lead at 16-13.
An explosive 19-3 Dripping Springs run to close the final six-plus minutes of the first half gave the Tigers a commanding 35-16 lead at halftime.
Getting the ball into the post was the key for the Tigers, Swannack said. Coaches saw opportunities to take advantage of, including utilization of an offense that got the ball into the paint.
Improved passing among the players also played a key role along with adept defensive play. Louis tallied five points in the second frame, while Parks and Enzo Arnold each contributed a three-pointer during the run.
“The guys did a phenomenal job of looking and finding each other and passing the ball better,” Swannack said. “Getting the ball inside is what helped us.”
While Swannack said Dripping Springs had good defensive effort in the first quarter, players improved on that effort in the second frame.
“We feed off of our defense. It feeds off our offense,” Swannack said. “We talked about defensive effort being the biggest thing all game long.”
Dripping Springs maintained its sizeable lead for the remainder of the contest. Parks scored 10 of his points in the final two quarters.
Focus now lies on the remainder of the district schedule. Dripping Springs travels to play LBJ Jan. 25, followed by hosting Lockhart Jan. 29 and a road game at McCallum Feb. 1. State-ranked Austin Reagan, which handed the Tigers their lone district loss to date, travels to Tiger Gym Feb. 5.
“The way the district scheduled the second round is going to be a challenge for us,” Swannack said. “But it’s always about what we can do better. I like the way we are playing.”