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February 15, 2017     Hays Free Press
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+ @hfprebelsports @hfplobosports Community comes together to fund Braille computer - Page 3B February 15, 2017 PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III Hays Rebel pitcher Maxine Valdez winds up as she prepares to deliver a pitch during last week's scrimmage against San Marcos. BY MOSES LEOS III news@haysfreepress.com With several returning players from last year's re- gional semifinalist team, Hays head softball coach Lisa Cone aims to go even further in 2017. Despite a relatively young squad, Cone said a pair of scrimmages against 5A powerhouses Dripping Springs and Rouse have shown prom- ise. "Obviously, our expec- tations are high. We want to go further than we did last year," Cone said. '!We don't want to be done af- ter three rounds. We want to continue playing." Replacing the major- ity of the infield will be the early season focus for Cone and the Rebel defense. Cone said senior Lulu Arroyo, along with pitcher Maxine Valdez and catch- er Abbie Blackwell are the only returning infielders this season. Cone said she moved Illiana Cisneros to the shortstop position to fill the void left by Alyssa Martinez, who trans- ferred to Lehman prior to the season. She also moved Brianna Rodri- guez from the outfield to REBEL SOFTBALL, 2B BY QUIXEM RAMIREZ news@haysfreepress.com On senior night, with his parents watching from the Bales Gym bleachers, senior guard Charles Bohannon kept shooting despite a mounting deficit. It was a microcosm for what has been another losing sea- son for the Rebels, who trailedVandegrift by 14 points entering the fourth quarter. Bohannon, however, was undeterred, as he poured in 17 of the team's 21 points in the final period, closing the books on a 57-46 loss at home. "We live and die with him," said Hays coach Matthew Sandoval. "Un- fortu nately, it was a little bit too late because of the circumstances. It is what it is." Friday night's loss capped a 2016-2017 sea- son in which the Rebels went 7-24 and included a 2-10 record in district play. That mark placed Hays last in the dis- trict. Sandoval pointed to the first quarter as an early sign of trouble. He watched as his team missed all seven of its "We didn't start well in the first quarter It was up- and-down from there." - Ma~hew Sandoval, Rebelcoach three-pointers. The team shot 20 per- cent from the field, but the deficit was just four points. "We didn't start well in the first quarter," Sando- val said. "It was up-and- down from there." Bohannon was held to one point in the second and third quarter, as Van- degrift made its push. Led by freshman center Greg Brown III and his team-high 19 points, the Vipers generated much of their offense by capital- izing on Hays' miscues. There were 22 turnovers in total, leading to easy buckets for Vandegrift in REBEL BASKETBALL, 2B Lady Rebs succumb to Madison BY QUIXEM RAMIREZ news@haysfreepress.com Senior forward Jade Finister wiped her brow and hugged her parents. Tears streamed down her cheeks. It was over. Then she embraced a teammate. Another teammate walked by to console her. Down the line, Finister met with each of her teammates for the last time on a basketball court. They shared laughs, tears and hugs. The winning side had already vacated the building, leaving the Hays girls basketball team and family mem- bers wondering what went wrong. But, yes, it was really over. Hays' season (20- 13) culminated with a first-round playoff exit once again. The last game of Finister's high school basketball career came at the hands of Madison (21-12), which es- caped the bi-district playoff round Tuesday night with a 52-47 winin overtime. The Mav- ericks ad- vanced to face Steele in the next round. At least it was an adequate farewell for Finister, if Coach Danny Preuss has anything to say about it. "She stepped up big for us against Pfluger- ville in the playoffs (last year)," Preuss said. "She steps up for big games. We needed her to. I'd venture to say that she may have had 20 rebounds - I'm not sure. But we needed every one of those." Finister contrib- uted 14 points, but her presence was felt in the rebounding department. The Rebels corralled 38 rebounds in the game, PHOTOS BY MOSES LEOS III; Hays Rebel guard Gabby Bosquez (left) is obstructed by a San Antonio Madison defender as she tries to pass the ball to teammates while on the ground Tuesday at Cibolo Steele High. Inset, Even with a hand in her face, Hays High senior Jada Finister (center) fights to take a shot as a pair of San Antonio Madison players defend Tuesday. Finister's 38 rebound effort helped Hays force overtime, but the Rebels succumbed to Madison to end the season. (Browse and buy photos at bartonpublications.smugmug.com.) "1 want to remember the (senior class) for this game right here - never -Danny Preuss, Lady Rebel basketball coach in part because Madison was unable to prevent Finister from tapping the ball out to a teammate or outright controlling the rebound. Once Hays forced overtime- after erasing two separate double- digit deficits during the game - Finister was back on the attack. Hays led 46-42 with a shade under three min- utes left, after Finister knocked down a leaning bank shot for her fourth consecutive points in overtime. "I was feeling pretty good when we got that four-point leadin overtime," Preuss said. "I thought we had it. say, never We had our chanc- die attitude, es, but Madison fighting hard is a pretty even though good team." Preuss things were said his against them." teamwas emotion- ally and physically drained by the over- time period. That may explain why the Rebels were unable to finish, al- lowing Madison to climb back in the game and steal the victory. When the odds were stacked in its favor, Madison's Denaija Dan- iels attacked the soft underbelly of the Rebel defense. Finister was in the vicinity both times. And both times Daniels converted the lay-up. That set the stage for Gabby Bosquez, Hays' leading scorer. She had another opportunity- after missing a floater at the end of regulation that would have won the game - to redeem herself. Her redemption was short-lived. An errant pass instead led to a turnover and a quick transition basket for Madison. Hays never led for the rest of the overtime period. "Unfortunately we didn't come away with the win but I don't think we can hang our heads, because I thought the people I had on the floor were busting their butts," Preuss said. "They had reasons to not even suit up in the first place and they suited and they gave an effort like I've never seen before." The Rebels entered the game without its starting point guard Choon- Hee Chae, who missed Tuesday's game due to personal reasons. Preuss rejiggered his starting ro- tation to include Bosquez as the point guard. As a natural shooting guard, she was out of her element. Bosquez finished with 13 points on 16 shot attempts, though Preuss said he was proud of her effort in acclimating to the posi- tion change. Bosquez, a jtmior, will retum next year, ready to lead the Rebels to another winning season. The 2016-17 season ended in another 20-win season and another play- off berth. "It's one of those seasons where I felt we could've gone farther but it wasn't in the cards tonight," Preuss said. "Whenever you can get a 20-win season, with such a difficult season, it's good. Sure, we are disap- pointed. We all are. They don't wanna quit playing basketball. It's just a little too much to overcome." Next year's team will work in earnest to replace Finister, Chae, /aden Williams, Camille Brown and Braejee Mc- Millian - all seniors. If the 2017-18 squad can replicate a fraction of their heart, that'll be half the battle. "I want to remember the (senior class) for this game right here - never sa5 never die attitude, fighting hard even though things were against them," Preuss said. "That's a good legacy to pass on to the underclassmen." PHOTOS BY MOSES LEOS III Lehman High sophomore powerlifter Ty Roaches strains as he squats over 450-pounds during an attempt at the Lehman Lobo Invitational. Inset, Lehman High's Victoria Smith readies for a squat attempt dur- ing Saturday's competition. The Lehman High girls powerlifting team defended its turf by powering to a first place overall finish, claiming the top spot by a 26 point margin over second place Center Point. Meanwhile, the Lehman boys' team finished in second place and was only seven points behind first place Somerset. 4~ ! 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