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December 18, 2501     Hays Free Press
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December 18, 2501

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Section B ports FINALLY HOME Operation Finally Home gives house to veteran. - Page 3B al L_ree  lre December 18, 2013. Page 1B PHOTO BY CYNDY SLOVAK-BARTON Hays senior Hayden Cagle slams home a dunk at the Rebel Classic, which Hays hosted from Dec. 12- 14. Hays finished the tournament with a 3-1 mark, claiming the Silver Bracket championship. Rebels conquer own Classic BY TAYLOR THOMPKINS The Hays Rebels Boys Var- sity Basketball team won their bracket in the Rebel Classic Tournament over the weekend in preparation for their first game in district play. The Rebels won their first game Thursday against the Lanier Vikings 72-40 but lost their second game that day to the Harker Heights Knights, .... falling short 62 -58. Hays took the game Friday against the Dripping Springs Tigers with a score of 65-56 and their final game on Satur- day against the Smithson Val- ley Rangers 68-52. "The thing that I was most happy about and most proud of was that the team got better at some things that we needed to get better at before going into district," said Coach Rob- ert Lucero. Jacob Rodriguez led the team in scoring over the tour- nament, putting 39 points on the. board between the game against Dripping Springs and SmithsonValley. Hayden Cagle scored 12 points in both the game against the Tigers Friday and Saturday's victory over the Rangers. Lucero said the level of play did not decrease when players who see less court time en- tered Saturday's game. "I was really especially proud of our guys who came off the bench and they don't get necessarily as many min- utes as they deserve because they work so hard every day," Lucero said. "The level of play did not drop at all and so that gives ts a chance to be really good 'when you have seven guys.., on the bench that come in and give you signifi- cant minutes." The Rebels had a 27-point lead heading into the fourth quarter of Saturday's win over Smithson Valley, due in large part to the pressure that led to turnovers, Lucero said. The Rebels had an 8-point swing in the first minute of the second half. "I think they came out (after half time) and they made the extra pass and kept the ball moving and they found guys with wide open shots," Lucero said. "They moved (the ball) and found the extra man." Pressure on the opposing team was a deciding factor in Friday's win over Dripping Springs as well, Lucero said. Although the team's rotation was slow and hurt the team in the first half, the Rebels man- aged to pressure the Tigers, he said. "I think we tried to put pres- sure on them as much as we could because they wanted to control tempo," Lucero said. "We wanted to try to make it difficult for them to run their sets. I think we did a very good job of that and we were able HAYS BOYS BASKETBALL, 2B RE/I ImRE PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III On June 9, Hays junior offensive lineman Connor Lanfear verbally committed to the Texas Longhorns football program. While head coach Mack Brown announced this past weekend he will vacate his position following Texas' bowl game on Dec. 28, Lanfear says he'll keep his commit- ment to the school. Hookin ' 'em Burnt orange dreams remain for Hays' Lanfear BY MOSES LEOS III mid a week of rumors and specula- on, Texas head coach Mack Brown ut to bed the worst kept secret in all of collegiate sports on Saturday- his inevitable departure. While Brown's resignation may have been a foregone conclusion for some, the saga was a drama-filled ordeal for others. Hays High School junior offensive line- man Connor Lanfear fits into the latter category. Verbally committed to Texas over the summer, Lanfear was particularly inter- ested in what Brown would eventually decide. But through it all, Lanfear says he still committed to the University of Texas at Austin. At the same time, he also knew Brown might leave. In an exclusive interview with the Hays Free Press, Lanfear said he somewhat prepared himself for the moment. He just never fully believed it would come to fruition. The week previous, Lanfear was contacted by staff at Texas, who told him Brown was not stepping down. He did his best to ignore the media circus surrounding the issue, but his fears were realized on Saturday night. Lanfear was out on a date when the news broke. A text message from his sister brought home the disheartening news. "I received a text from my sister that Coach Brown was resigning. I had to check to see if he really did," Lanfear said. "It was kind of a shock [for me]. My date was about as shocked as I was. I was a little discombobulated." He said he "shrugged it off," and continued on with his date. However, he slowly began to field questions regarding his future. Contacted by Rivals. com, ESPN and 24/7 re- cruiting service, everyone wanted to know what the 2015 graduate was plan- ning. Lanfear declined interviews. During that time, he sought infor- marion on what might happen next. Texas told him the scholarship offered to him in the summer was still on the table. The Hays junior now waits anxious- ly to see who will be the 29th head coach of U.T. Texas football. But the departure of Brown still left an impression on Lanfear, who said he never showed any signs of fatigue during his recruitment in the summer. "Men like him are rare these days. He is a good coach, and a great man. I hate to see him go." -Connor Lanfear, speaking about Mack Brown "During drills, he seemed to be getting after it all the wa3" Lanfear said. "He did not look tired." But he still yearns for the chance to play under Brown at Texas; an opportunity he would have "loved" to have. While he will not get the chance, Lanfear said, "Everything happens for a reason." Lanfear now awaits Texas' new head coaching hire. He hasn't heard who, but has confidence Texas will find the fight person for the job. For now, Lanfear will reminisce about what might have been. He will forever remember being at Brown's final home game against Texas Tech on Thanksgiving. "It's one of those mo- ments you won't forget for the rest of your life," he said. "I look at that and cherish it." Most of all, he acknowledges the re- markable character of Mack Brown. "Men like him are rare these days. He is a good coach, and a great man. I hate to see him go," Lanfear said. "He has done such amazing things for the program, and has left a great legacy at Texas." Lady Rebs roll past Lehman 44-31 BY MOSES LEOS III Miscues, turnovers and plenty of missed shots comprised the first Hays/ Lehman rivalry contest on Friday at the Lobo Den. In the end, Hays' interior presence al- lowed the Lady Rebs to defeat Lehman 44- 31 in the opening 27-4A contest of the year. Hays took the early advantage, building a 6-0 lead to start the game. It ballooned to a 10-5 lead off a layup by senior Jordyne Dugger, who finished with ten points. Lehman climbed right back, going on a 5-0 rtm to tie it at 10-10 after a quarter. Lady Lobo head coach Jamie Coy knew her team was "outsized in the paint." She countered Hays' advantage by running a zone defense, which was effective. Hays' interior threats, senior Jill Bor- reson and Dugger, were held to only 10 points in the first half of play. "We knew they were going to play a big game. Their guards are not a factor to us," Coy said. "Their bigs have us outsized considerabl so we made sure we covered [them] and ran zone." Friday's low scoring affair continued, as both teams struggled to get their offenses going. Turnovers were ever present in the second quarter, as were several missed scoring chances. Still, the Lady Lobos held close. They eventually took their only lead off a run- ning jump shot from Lauren Fowler, which gave them a 15-14 lead. Fowler scored 10 points in the contest. But the Rebels emerged from a lethar- gic start and began working the ball to Dugger and Borreson. Hays ended the first half on a 6-0 run to PHOTO BY LINCOLN RAMIREZ Hays junior Aiexis Delgado (33) attempts to pass the ball past Lehman junior Starr Riv- ers (22) in both team's first district game on Friday night. Hays eventually pulled away late to claim a 44-31 win over Lehman in the first basketball rivalry game of the season. take a 20-15 halffime break. Rebels head coach Danny Preuss ac- knowledged Lehman's attempt to thwart Borreson and Dugger. However, he felt execution issues on both sides of the floor plagued the team in the first half. He felt the team wasn't, "ready to play," a theme that summarized the entire game. That point was seconded by Borreson. "We went in overconfident," Dugger said. "They are a [good] team, but we didn't come out like we needed to." Hays eventually took control midway through the third period, relying on Dug- ger and Borreson, who were often open beneath the bucket. For the Lady Lobos, a change in defen- sive tactics led to the Lady Rebels taking advantage. "We were running a 2-3 (zone) [early in the game]. We'd shift over and cover [Bor- reson and Dugger]," Cheyenne Morgan said. "We then switched to man, and we got jumbled on who had who." In addition, a cold spell from the floor felled the Lady Lobos. Lehman was un- able to hit a bucket until the 6:30 mark in the fourth quarter. Coy said the team tried to find offense outside of senior Olivia Marzullo, who led the team with 11 points. She tried to "get more kids involved," but the Lady Lobos never could find their offensive rhythm. In between, Hays concocted a 10-0 run to separate itself from Lehman. The Rebs stayed one step ahead of the Lobos, using Dugger, Borreson and Tara Ramsey to pull away for the win. Lehman senior guard Lauren Fowler felt the team allowed Hays to dictate the tempo, particularly in the second half. "I felt that we weren't nmning transi- tion as well as we could have," she said. "We needed to push the ball more." Coy felt her team must take better care of the ball, along with ensuring the girls transition effectively on the floor. Preuss stressed his squad must execute effectively to be successful; whether on defense, or finish shots on offense. Hays did so in the waning moments of the game. "The key tonight was when we slowed down and took care of the ball, we ex- ecuted. When we tried to go warp speed, we didn't," Preuss said. "Good thing about [tonight] was itwas a (win)." PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III Lehman senior Kraig Shields finish- es a dunk during the Rebel Classic, which was held this past weekend. The Lobos completed tournament play with a 2-3 record, finishing third in the Bronze Bracket. Lobos earn third at Classic BY MOSES LEOS III Battling consistency issues, the Lehman Lobos finished with a 2-3 mark earning them third place in the Blue Bracket in the 2013 Rebel Classic. Despite the issues, head coach Thomas Acker hopes the experience helps the team in the district season. The Lobos got off on the right foot, defeating Wimber- ley 71-41. Lehman found its rhythm on offense, bypassing Wim- beriey's zone defense. It al- lowed Lehman to take open perimeter shots. "We were assertive and ag- gressive. That's what we've been preaching, especially against zones," Acker said. "Our guys were comfortable against that." Lehman led 38-20 at half- time, and never looked back. A big key was junior guard Genjiro Gushiken. He helped the Lobos dictate tempo, par- ticularly in the third quarter. Acker said the experience was crucial for Gushiken, who was filling in for injured senior guard ].R. Torres. He said Gu- shiken had to get used to the pace of basketball in the Unit- ed States, which is slower than in his native Japan. Gushiken's management, along with torrid shooting, helped Lehman score the most points they've had all year. "We just tried to run our stuff," senior Kraig Shields said. "Everyone was feeling good." However, the Lobos fell into a three-game losing streak. They fell 49-40 to Leander, then fell to SmithsonVaUey 67- 43 on Friday afternoon. Acker said both losses saw the Lobos struggle with a simi- lar theme: changing defenses. Against Leander, the Lions kept the Lobos off balance. Acker also fek the Lions played more aggressively, and with a stronger sense of urgency. Lehman tried to rebound against Smithson Valley, but struggled with a faster Ranger squad. Both teams closed the first quarter with a close 12-11 score. However, the second quarter saw the Rangers pull away for good. Smithson Valley used a full court press to disrupt Lehman, forcing numerous bad passes, which the Rangers quickly ,turned into points. In addi- tion, their aggressiveness in the paint helped them get to the line. Lehman tried to rally, get- ting within 15 with the aid of two big slam dunks from Shields. But the Rangers went back to the press, hurting Lehman's offensive capabilities. Acker believes the team's youthful guards led to some struggles. However, the team's LOBO BOYS BASKETBALL, 2B