Dripping Springs basketball opened the new year on the right foot with a dominating 71-40 win at home over the Austin Navarro Vikings last Friday night, thanks to lights out shooting from beyond the arc and physical play in the paint.
“What I saw was an extension of our practice habits,” Dripping Springs head coach Craig Swannack said of the win. “Our guys have been doing such a good job in practice about working hard and not caring about which opponent we’re facing. Really making the only opponent ourselves. I think you could see that today in the way that we played. I thought we played some high quality basketball today.”
The Tigers were led by the dynamic backcourt duo of junior point guard Jayden Guevara and senior shooting guard Xavier Phillips, as they combined for 30 points and six made three-point shots. Guevara led the team with 17 points, while also contributing four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Phillips had 13 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal.
“We are just so blessed to have those guys (Guevara and Phillips),” Swannack said. “This is a great shooting team, but the reason they are a great shooting team is because we really have these players that can get a shot on their own. It’s young men who go out there and get a lot of extra work on their own. Because of that they’ve earned that right to shoot it, and we give them a ton of freedom because they earned it.”
Navarro opened the game in a 3-2 zone defense and Guevara and the Tigers were well prepared as they moved the ball around and constantly found a teammate for an open shot. As a team Dripping Springs made 10 shots from beyond the arc, with seven coming in the first half.
“We saw it coming,” Guevara said of the Vikings’ 3-2 zone defense. “Coach had a good preparation for it, and I thought we came out shooting well.”
Another key factor to the Tigers’ victory was their ability to out-rebound the Vikings and put up second chance points on offense. Dripping Springs secured 25 rebounds to just 14 by Navarro, including a 17-6 advantage in the first half of play. Junior forward Luke Lawyer led the Tigers in rebounds with five for the game.
“We knew we had a big size advantage with our post players and it really was a point of emphasis all week,” Swannack said. “With us not having a game on Tuesday, or any other day this week, we were able to put a focus on our offensive rebounding. We told them we should be able to dominate the boards, so it’s something I’m really glad to see that something like that translates to the game.”
Another two Tigers players who had big games were junior guard Aidan Bailey and senior guard Hayden Shields. Bailey contributed eight points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal, while Shields was a key contributor off the bench as he put up 10 points and had one assist.
The win improves Dripping Springs’ overall record to 11-3, with a 1-0 record in 5A District-25. Coming off an extended break, it was important for Swannack and the Tigers to get district play started off with a victory.
“Anytime you can get a win in this district I think it’s very important,” Swannack said. “District wins are tough to come by sometimes, and it was good to see our guys execute and do things the right way to be able to earn that win today.”
Dripping Springs’ next home game will be held Friday versus the Lockhart Lions (4-15).