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Photo by Gerald Castillo

Lady Rattlers earn 10th victory of the season, defeat La Vernia

San Marcos Girls Basketball
Thursday, November 29, 2018

La Vernia head coach Kyle Sivadon made adjustments.

The Lady Bears fell behind 22-5 early in the first quarter of last season’s 51-38 loss to San Marcos. Sivadon made sure his team didn’t start slow this time around, as La Vernia traveled to the Snake Pit on Tuesday.

The adjustments worked. The Lady Bears kept pace with the Lady Rattlers through the opening quarter, tied at 11-11. But San Marcos head coach Veronda Kendall made adjustments, too, and San Marcos came out with the victory, 48-37.

“I give complete credit to La Vernia,” Kendall said. “They are a scrappy team, they are disciplined, their coach made some great adjustments against our defense. They’re 4A, they’re going to be OK.”

The first modification Kendall made was switching from a 1-3-1 trapping defense to a 2-3 zone. All of the Lady Bears’ first quarter points came from layups or foul shots. The zone would help keep La Vernia exiled outside the paint and slow down the pace of the game.

The visitors scored just six points in the second quarter.

“With the 2-3 (zone), we can get the rebounds and block out their big girl,” sophomore forward Faith Phillips said. “Their big girl was pretty strong in the paint and our backside wasn’t rotating as well as it needed to. So, with the 2-3, we can stay closer and pack it tighter in the paint.”

Kendall also inserted Beth Gutierrez into the lineup. With just over two minutes left in the first half, the junior guard was fouled on a drive and went to the free throw line. She made her first shot, but missed the second. Junior center Grace Latham came up with the offensive rebound and found Gutierrez cutting toward the basket, who laid the ball in off the glass.

Gutierrez drove in for another layup on the next trip off an assist from Phillips. The five-point swing extended the Lady Rattlers' lead to six points and the team to stayed in front 21-17 at halftime.

“I’m always ready to play and bring our team together and just hoping for the best,” Gutierrez said.

“She is a seasoned young lady,” Kendall said. “She’s solid for us. So, we just brought her off the bench tonight. I feel like she did outstanding. I felt like that she was the catalyst that kind of changed the momentum of the game.”

La Vernia scored on the opening possession of the second half to cut the lead to two points, but senior wings Abigail Pena and Andrea Flores cashed in on consecutive layups to stay ahead. The Lady Bears trailed by at least six points the rest of the game and San Marcos took home the win, 48-37.

“I thought we were going to come out here strong and play together, because that’s what we always do,” Gutierrez said. “We had a little tough times during the games, but we came together as one.”

Phillips led the team with 10 points, followed by Gutierrez with nine. The victory improves the Lady Rattlers’ record to 10-2 on the season.

San Marcos will head to the Buda Hays tournament this weekend, kicking things off on Thursday at 3 p.m. against Stony Point. The team is ready to keep making adjustments.

“We’ve got to keep pushing,” Phillips said. “We’re ready to bring it. We know we’ve got win No. 10, so we’re ready to get 11, 12 and 13.”