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November 16, 2016     Hays Free Press
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+ .................... @hfprebelsports @hfplobosports $13.1 BOND Proposed May 2017 bond focuses on career tech improvements -P e3B November 16, 2016 Rebel XC runner finishes in top half of competition BY MOSES LEOS II! news@haysfreepress.com During her tenure as a coach at Dahlstrom Mid- die School, Traci Hight- ower always knew Gabby Bosquez's raw ability and work ethic made her an athlete to beat at a track meet. Several years later, Hightower, who is now the head cross country coach at Hays High, k 'l, i, helped guide Bosquez to last weekend's UIL Class 6A girls state cross coun- try meet. For Hightower, watch- ing Bosquez progress to state in only her first year in cross country was a matter of molding her athletic ability. "We knew the grit she had. Once she got com- fortable with the idea of a 5K, she would be a natu- BOSQUEZ, 2B i , , i ii Family, friends and coaches joined cross country meet a~ Old Settlers i Hays Rebel senior Gabby Bosquez (bottom, Park in Round Rock. center) following her run PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS M in the UIL Class 6A girls BY QUIXEM RAMIREX news@haysfreepress.com For all intents and purposes, the Lehman Lobo girls basketball program is in a state of upheaval this year. There's a new coach, a new system in place and a new outlook for the 2016-2017 season. This follows a period where the Lobos have lost 50 of its last 62 regular season games. Lehman is trusting the process. "We just talked about staying within our system and staying within what we do," said Lehman coach James Halatin. "Basically, trust in the process. It's been our rally cry all year." Halatin's process was put to the test in the first game of the Dripping Springs Classic Tourna- ment, which the Lobos exited with a 1-3 mark last weekend. State-ranked Cibolo Steele trounced the Lo- bos 91-17 Nov. 10 inthe first game of the tourna- ment. Lehman lost 52-35 to A&M Consolidated three hours later. The first day of the tournament left Lehman searching for answers. "We took some bad losses on the chin against some re- ally tough competition," Halatin said. "That was good for our kids to see that kind of caliber. That's what the top teams in the district will look like. It's better to see that early in the season instead of being wide- eyed for the first time in district." Halatin said he wanted to see his team build on the new system. Last year's Lehman squad, coached by Jamie Coy, played a slower style of offense. This season, without the luxury of size in the frontcourt, Halatin wants his team to be more active on defense and rely on its backcourt duo of Meghan Zuniga and Crystal Montoya. "If we sit back and let PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III Lehman Lobo freshman forward Bridgette Ramirez (1) competes for A&M Consolidated Tiger players for a rebound during pool play at the ment in Dripping Springs. positioning with two Drip Classic Tourna- "We took some bad losses on the chin against some really tough competition ... It's better to see that early in the season instead of being wide-eyed for the first time in district." -James Halatin, Lehman coach teams come to us, it's not going to do us any favors," Halatin said. "We need to push up on other teams' guards. We have some guards that can create a little havoc in the backcourt." But Lehman was on the wrong side of a blow- out in the second day of the tournament, losing 48-16 to Texas City. The first three games resulted in three losses by a total margin of 123 points. But Halatin said the Lobos also began to grasp the system. "We finally trusted the system and played a little bit better the second day," Halatin said. "We just said 'look this is our system. We are going to go out and work it.'" The Lobos' comeback began in earnest against a Laredo Martin team that played a similar style of basketball. Halatin changed his starting lineup before the game, opting for two returning starters. With three consecu- tive losses in the rear- view mirror, Lehman got to work and trusted Halatin's process. A 57-37 victory over Martin Friday afternoon concluded the Dripping Springs Classic on a high note. "We are hoping to get better every game," Halatin said. "We have to get ourselves get better before we start worry- ing about the wins and losses. But I know, and the coaches know, that it's a long season and there's gonna be some highs and definitely some lows. We just want to compete for four quarters." Three weeks remain before the district season begins. Halatin's chal- lenge in taking over a rebuilding program is streamlining his process and allo~ng his team to improve incrementally. Other teams have the benefit of continuity. Lehman doesn't. "Most of the teams that we are playing are in year six or seven in the same system," Halatin said. "We knew that was going to be a struggle to put our system against more established teams." But Halatin also had a glass half-full take on the same premise. '~nd I'll remind you that our process is just two months old," Halatin said. Hays Rebel senior forward Jaden basket past a Texas City Stingaree played in the Drip Classic. BY MOSES LEOS III news@haysfreepress.com When practice began at Bales Gym Monday, Hays High girls basketball coach Danny Preuss informed his team the 2016 season was, in essence, starting over. Hays, which has started the season 2-5, battled illness, injury and the absence of key players due to other sports and school obligations. But Preuss said the retum of key players, including junior Gabby Bosquez, brings optimism for a Hays squad that looks to get healthy following a difficult early season stretch. '~t this point in the year, I need to get healthy. I need to see what kind of team we have," Preuss said. "I think I have a good team. But I don't know. PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS M Williams (right) attacks the defender during a game I want to believe I have a good team. When you have four starters return from last year, I think we should have a good team." Hays worked to overcome some of that adversity during a 2-3 run in the Drip Classic basketball toumament in Dripping Springs. It began with a 1-1 mark in pool play on Nov. 10. The Rebels, however, stumbled out of the blocks with a 50-24 loss to Leander Rouse. Hindering the Rebels was the absence of Bosquez and Breajee McMiUian, who was injured in a car accident that same day. Preuss said having those two players out got into his players' heads. "We played decent in the first half, but in the second half, we shut down," he said. 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