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San Marcos finds new identity in win over Smithson Valley

San Marcos Girls' Basketball
Wednesday, November 10, 2021

This season marks a new start for San Marcos Girls’ Basketball. 

Fresh off of their 2020 postseason performance, the Lady Rattlers come into the season returning everyone but two seniors who graduated. In most circumstances, you could say that the team has a lot of experience — which it does — but this circumstance is much different. The two players, Faith Phillips and Kayla Presely who graduated were both First Team all-district performers and both scored 1,000 points during their respective careers.

The team opened the season on the road with a loss to Shertz Clemens but San Marcos found a scoring recipe Tuesday night that worked with six different players contributing to a 52-39 win over Smithson Valley (0-2).

“Having Kayla (Presley) and Faith (Phillips) was great, I'm not dispelling that anyway,” first-year head coach Jermaine Ervin said. “Kayla was a point guard that demanded everything we did. And Faith was a multi-level scorer. She could score down low, score mid-posts, she could score from the 3-point line, while Kayla would set the table for everybody. 

“But as you watch how we play this year, the ball has synergy. We share the ball. Everybody's touching the ball. Everybody's a threat.”

If you don’t score, you must defend to keep yourself in games. San Marcos (1-1) did just that. The Lady Rangers didn’t record a field goal until the 6:23 mark of the second quarter, leaving hosts ahead 12-1 up until that point. The offense in the first half was jump-started by senior guard Vivian Hernandez’s hot shooting from the 3-point line. To start the game Hernandez netted 40% from beyond the arc, opposite of her performance last game.

“Last game, I was really off my 3s,” Hernandez said. “The next day, I went to the gym. I was just working and I was like, ‘Coach, I gotta hit some 3s in the next game. It’s on me that I’m missing.’ And tonight, I felt good. Just the team hyping me up as well, it really brought up joy and it put more energy in everything I did.”

Her third 3 splashed through the net midway through the second quarter, starting a 6-0 run for the Lady Rattlers which led to a 32-12 lead heading into halftime. Ervin talked about how important it is for this group of girls to bounce back and be ready for its moments.

“I need these girls to have confidence that, ‘One game, I may have 20, one game I may have six. But the next game may be my game,” Ervin said. “I need these girls to not be scared at the moment. So we share the ball. We want everybody to get a piece of the ball and we want confidence to make shots.”

The third quarter was stalled by both teams' defenses. Smithson Valley sat back in its half-court zone while San Marcos emphasized and worked on its full-court trap, which caused havoc for the Lady Rangers. Both teams scored 15 points combined in the quarter and the scoring drought left San Marcos with a 20-point advantage with 1:02 left in the quarter.

Smithson Valley wasn’t done, as it scored a quick 7-0 run with 3:50 left, slicing the Lady Rattlers’ lead to single digits for the first time since the first quarter. The run was halted by junior center Amiya Moore, who scored six of her 16 points in the final two minutes of the game to close out a 52-39 win at home — the first win of the season.

“Last year we sat in a zone a lot, and we got some athletes,” Ervin said. “I just needed to fix our man-to-man (defense) so we could extend it full court. So at times, when you're looking at the press, we just (lock) onto you full-court because we feel like we are conditioned for it. We feel like we're built for it. We feel like you're gonna be a lot more tired at the end of the game than we are.”

San Marcos returns to the floor this Friday against former district opponent New Braunfels Canyon on the road at 6:30 p.m. Now that the Lady Rattlers and Ervin have the first win of the season under their belts, they can start to build the identity they want to live by this season. 

San Marcos Record

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