Despite a late surge, the Hays Rebels came up short in a 61-57 home loss to the Akins Eagles Jan. 18.
Akins (8-17, 2-9) came into Bales Gym hot to start the game. Akins nailed a three to open up the scoring and didn’t stop scoring there, dropping 19 points in the quarter. The Rebels struggled to get shots to fall. Seniors Noah Fultz and Curtis Hudgeons accounted for eight points in the opening quarter, but the Rebels trailed failed to get much else. Akins led 19-9 after the first frame.
The second quarter went much like the first. The Rebels(14-14, 3-8) improved defensively in the period with Hudgeons, Fultz, and Junior Marshall Wagers all recording a steal. The turnovers, however, did not translate into points, and Hays managed only five points in the quarter. At the half, Hays trailed 29-14.
Both teams began to hit their shots to start the second half. A barrage of three-pointers kept Akins ahead, but the Rebels countered with an offensive attack to start the second half. Junior Luke Watson led the way early, nailing a contested step-back three-pointer and converting all four of his free throws. The Rebels put a run together thanks to hustle plays from Junior Caden Doyle and Senior Tiras Morton. Both came away with steals that resulted in Rebel points. Despite the improved offense, Hays trailed 49-31 going into the final quarter.
Facing an 18-point deficit, the Rebels had a long hole to climb out of, but they were up to the challenge early. Four forced turnovers, including back-to-back steals by Jacob Monroe, resulted in an 8-0 run for the Rebels. Hays scored 26 total points in the final period.
With two minutes left in the game, the Rebels trimmed Akins’ lead down to a five points. Watson and Senior Carlos Rocha made back to back threes late in the game to keep the Rebels close. Rocha drilled another three-pointer with 15 seconds on the clock to get the Rebels within striking distance at 59-57.
Hays’ comeback bid ended there, however, as Akins completed key free throws to lock down the victory.
Hays Head Coach Matthew Sandoval had no excuses for his team after the tough loss.
“Missed a lot of layups and didn’t rebound in the first half,” Sandoval said. “When you don’t do that, you lose basketball games.”
Three Rebels finished with double-digits in points. Rocha led the Rebels in scoring with 12 points, while Watson scored 11 with a rebound and two assists. Fultz recorded 10 points, 8 rebounds, and four steals. As a team, the Rebels shot 43 percent from the field.
Hays hosts crosstown rival Lehman Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Bales Gym.
District 25-6A boys basketball standings as of Jan. 22
Lake Travis 8-3
Del Valle 5-6
Remaining schedule for the Hays Rebels
Jan. 25 vs. Lehman, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 29 @ Westlake, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 vs. Lake Travis, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 @ Del Valle, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 12 @ Anderson, 8 p.m.
In order to reach the postseason, Hays must win their final five games AND have Lehman, Austin and Del Valle lose at least three games to close the season, while Anderson drops two of its final six games.