Key free throws late in the game pushed the Hays Rebels to a 31-27 defensive brawl over the rival Lehman Lobos Friday at the Den.
Hays enacted payback on the Lobos, who defeated the Rebels 49-27 in their first matchup earlier this season.
“We let them have 49 last time,” Preuss said. “Defense wins games and we concentrated on that and came up with defenses for them.”
Lehman junior Bridgette Ramirez scored first for the Lady Lobos, making one of her two free throws. That point was the last Lehman scored for several minutes. Hays, meanwhile, cruised ahead on buckets from sophomore Trista Strasser. Hays led Lehman 7-4 after a quarter of play.
The squads went back and forth through the first few possessions of the second. Lobo Alexis Aguilar came away with a steal that set up junior Aspaisa Youngbird for her first two points and the first points of the quarter. Ramirez hit a big three-pointer for Lehman that seemed to give them the momentum. However, Hays sophomore Madison Logan fired right back with a three-pointer of her own. Hays did just enough to hold onto the 15-12 lead going into half.
The basket seemed to shrink in size for both teams early in the second half. The only points through the first five minutes of the quarter came via free throws, with Strasser making two and Ramirez making one. Lehman finally broke through when sophomore Kayla Presley completed an old-fashioned three-point play. Presley struck again in the final seconds with a key layup to give the Lobos a 19-18 advantage heading into he final quarter.
Hays took a 29-27 lead early in the final frame following three straight free throws from sophomore Lily Guevara. Lehman’s Aguilar missed a right wing three, but Youngbird made the clutch offensive rebound and put it back in for a bucket to get the Lady Lobos within two points. Following a series of missed shots from both squads, Hays’ Madison Logan came to the free throw line with just three seconds on the clock with a chance to ice the game.
Logan nailed both shots and Hays won 31-27.
Preuss said his team did everything they needed to do to win. Despite the rough loss to Lehman earlier in the season, he knew his team could take them down.
“Some of the girls were talking about this being a revenge game, and I told them this is a reckoning,” Preuss said. “I expect our girls to win every time we step on the court. They have to have some pride, and they came through with that today.”
Strasser finished with a double-double by scoring 14-points and snagging ten rebounds. Guevara and Youngbird both had seven. Lehman’s Isabella Gonzales finished with six points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Rebels hit the road Friday to take on Lake Travis. Lehman hosts Bowie High Friday.