Hays girls basketball (12-15) earned a much needed district win this Saturday at Bales Gym as the team defeated the Del Valle Cardinals by score of 60-32, improving the Lady Rebels’ record to 3-5 in District-25.
Defense was key to the Lady Rebels victory as they forced 18 total turnovers and held the Cardinals to only 12 points in the first half. As a team, Hays defense had nine blocks and eight steals for the game.
“I thought defense was really, really good today,” Hays head coach Danny Preuss said. “We had a good defensive output against Lake Travis on Tuesday night, and I think we kind of turned it around a little bit there. We started hustling more and playing more like a team. I was pleased with them today.”
A 25-point second quarter by Hays offense gave the Lady Rebels a wave of momentum and a 35-12 cushion heading into halftime. Hitting open shots and converting fast break points were big part of the offensive explosion, according to Preuss.
“I called a couple of offenses to get our shooters open,” Preuss said about the second quarter. “They have to put down the shots and they did. Plus I think fast break, we got some stuff off fast break a little bit. We’re capable of putting some points on the board, we just don’t always do it.”
Hays got big time performances from junior forwards Trista Strasser and Lily Guevara. Strasser dominated the paint with nine points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. Guevara was the Lady Rebels go-to offensive player as she led the team with 12 points, while also pulling down eight rebounds and had one block.
“I need those two to play big,” Preuss said about Strasser and Guevara. “They have to play big. And then we need a supporting cast after that, but they have to play big.”
Strasser and Guevara’s 18 combined rebounds tied Del Valle’s total rebounds for the entire game. Hays as a team pulled down 40 rebounds over the four quarters.
“My goal is to out rebound every team we play,” Preuss said. “We got the size, we should be able to do it. So that’s big, when you can control the boards you only give them one shot. You know you don’t give them multiple shots and stuff.”
Other key contributors for the Lady Rebels were senior guards Anastasia Matthews, who had eight points, and Bridgette Ramirez’s six points off two made three-point shots.
Del Valle junior center Eriny Kindred led all scorers with 25 points, and also had six rebounds.
The victory over Del Valle was important for the Lady Rebels’ chance of making a playoff run during the second half of its district schedule. Sitting at 3-5 and currently in sixth place, Hays is chasing Anderson (4-4), Austin High (5-3) and Bowie (6-2) for a top-four spot in the standings with eight games remaining.
“We’ve got to go 6-2 or 7-1 in the second half,” Preuss said. “I think we’ve done it the last two games, turning it around. But we’ve got to play tough like that all the time. We’ve got to have that much intensity every game, and that way I think we can beat those teams we lost to the first time.”
Hays faces off against the Anderson Trojans on Friday at Bales Gym at 7 p.m.