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Photo by Gerald Castillo

Lady Rattlers fall to Smithson Valley in district opener

San Marcos Girls Basketball
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SPRING BRANCH —  San Marcos is at its best when the Lady Rattlers control the tempo.

That was the gameplan in the team’s first district match of the season on the road against Smithson Valley. San Marcos wanted to pace itself by staying patient offensively, whipping the ball around until someone sprung open and hustling back on defense to get a stop.

It worked, at first. The Lady Rattlers built an early 5-0 lead as the Lady Rangers missed their first six shots. But at the 3:23 mark, Smithson Valley scored eight unanswered points in a span of 35 seconds to take back the lead and held onto it for the rest of the game, claiming the 57-45 victory over San Marcos.

“We have to be more disciplined offensively,” head coach Veronda Kendall said. We can’t come down and just take quick shots.”

The Lady Rangers pressed. The visitors felt the need to make quicker decisions, though not always the right ones. Too many passes were off the mark. The ball either sailed out of bounds or was intercepted by the hosts. The press also forced the Lady Rattlers to play faster, which was more suited to Smithson Valley’s style of play. 

San Marcos trailed 15-5 at the end of the first quarter.

“(We struggled with) recognition,” Kendall said. “Just seeing that it’s a press and you can pass out of it.”

The Lady Rattlers did a better job of recognizing in the second quarter. They started off on another 5-0 run and used their trapping defense to generate turnovers and gain extra possessions. A pair of free throws from sophomore forward Faith Phillips cut the lead to 21-19 with 2:49 remaining in the half, but that was as close as San Marcos would get.

Junior post Grace Latham dropped in a jumper at the end of the quarter, leaving the Lady Rattlers down 25-21 at halftime. The visitors wouldn’t score another point for over four minutes.

The Lady Rangers went on a 10-0 run to start the second half. San Marcos kept trying to get back in the game all at once, launching five shots from outside and missing all of them. A steal from freshman guard Vivian Hernandez led to a fastbreak layup by junior wing Miranda Lamb with 3:39 left in the quarter ended the run, but the damage was already done. Smithson Valley ended the third quarter up 41-25.

“We were changing defenses a lot, we were causing turnovers, creating some turnovers,” Kendall said. “That helped us a little bit. But I still feel like we struggled offensively.”

The visitors returned to form in the fourth quarter and managed to bring the lead back down to single digit with just over a minute left in the game. The Lady Rattlers began intentionally fouling to try and preserve the clock, but the Lady Rangers went 6-8 at the free throw line down the stretch to stay in front, taking the 57-45 win.

Phillips scored 15 points in the contest, followed by Latham with nine. Smithson Valley senior guard Ashley Adaszczyk scored a game-high 21.

San Marcos (15-5, 0-1 district) returns home to host New Braunfels Canyon (7-9, 0-1) on Friday inside the Snake Pit at 7 p.m. Kendall was disappointed to start district play off on the wrong foot, but believes the Lady Rattlers will be able to build off the loss.

“(We were) competitive, but not where we needed it to be to get the win,” Kendall said. “I thought our energy was pretty good. We had them scrambling. So, that’s what we wanted to do. They hit a few, but I don’t know. (We just need) consistency and discipline throughout the game.”