Dripping Springs won its ninth game in a row and improved to 10-1 in district play as the Lady Tigers ran the LBJ Lady Jaguars out of the gym with a 67-12 victory Friday.
Strong teamwork and adept bench play were pivotal points in the Tigers’ lopsided home win.
“I think our practices have really helped,” Lady Tigers senior guard Grace Fowler said. “We’ve been trying to go super hard and not slack off, and also encourage each other.”
On a night where the starters never really found a rhythm, the Lady Tigers bench took over and made it their game. Fowler led Dripping Springs in scoring for the night with 10 points off the bench, including seven points coming during the second quarter alone.
While the Lady Tigers came out sluggish in the first quarter, it was the bench play led by Fowler and junior forward Hannah Pena that gave Dripping Springs (20-12) the spark it needed during the second quarter to take a 33-4 lead into halftime.
“We were trying to rush things at first, a little bit up tight, and things weren’t happening right away,” Dripping Springs head coach David Norris said. “The girls off the bench did a good job coming in and getting us settled. It was just a good team effort.”
Dripping Springs struggled shooting from beyond the arc for the game going 6-for-26 on the night. Even while in a shooting slump, the Lady Tigers found a way to scrape points together off fast break turnovers, dominating play in the paint, and out-rebounding LBJ 41-17.
The Lady Tigers also forced 26 LBJ turnovers by utilizing a full court press defense and a 1-3-1 zone defense in the half-court. Dripping Springs recorded 16 team steals, with Pena leading the team with three steals, all coming in the second quarter.
“Pena came in and really sparked us, as she’s done all year,” said Norris. “She comes in and plays great defense and gets easy baskets for us.”
Pena finished the game with six points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. Junior post Avery Johnson also had a big game off the bench with six points, five rebounds and one steal.
Dripping Springs starters played better in the second half and extended its lead to 46-8 by the end of the third quarter. The Lady Tigers gained strong performances from senior guards Kennedy Donovan and Caitlyn Brack in the second half. Donovan finished the game with eight points, three assists, two rebounds and one block, while Brack recorded two points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The big win for Dripping Springs keeps the Lady Tigers in first place in District 25-5A with only three games remaining on the schedule.
Norris has credited his team with locking in and getting comfortable during this nine-game win streak. Norris said he wants his team to just focus on one game at a time.
Winning their remaining three games is all that separates the Lady Tigers from a district championship and holding the number 1 seed heading into the playoffs.
“We’ve just got to go one game at a time,” Norris said. “Tuesday at Lockhart is going to be tough, they beat Crockett there, so we’ve got to come ready to play.”