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Section B HaysFreePress.com PULLIN' FOR 131' A million pull tabs collected to benefit ailing child. - Page 3B December 23, 2009 Page 1B Lady Rebs beat Lobos 51-40 despite comeback rally PHOTO BY JUDY COOPER Hays guard Kaitlyn Barnes leads a fast-break with teammate Ashley Rankine on her left side as Lady Lobes Catherine Gonzales and Tori Torres trail behind during the Lady Rebs' 51-40 win Friday night. BY JASON GORDON freepresssports@yahoo.com While the final score Friday night at Bales Gym will show an- other Lady Rebel double-digit win in District 17-4A basketball action, it might have indicated a fruitful future for their opponent as well. After losing to Hays by 31 points a week before in the Rebel Clas- sic semifinals, the Lady Lobes again found themselves facing a large deficit against the Lady Rebs, this time by 24 points early in the fourth quarter. Instead of wilting, however, Leh- man made a furious rally and looked much like the team that made its first-ever playoff appearance last season. Lehman's comeback attempt fell HAYS HANGS ON Lady Lobes battle back, but fall to Lady Rebs for second time in a week The two will square off again in 17-4A action Jan. 22 at Lehman short, however, as Hays managed to hang on for a 51-40 victory. Hays improved to 2-0 in 17-4A action. Lehman improved to 1-1. "Our goal was to leave everything on the floor tonight, no matter what the final score was," Lehman head coach Danny Preuss said. "We battled hard on every play. It's defi- nitely a performance we can build on the rest of the district season." Hays forged ahead 47-23 on Ju- lia Burich's layup to start the fourth quarter, before Lehman's relentless defense led the Lady Lobes' charge back. Hays turnovers led to three- pointers by Amara Smith and Bri Garza. Then Garza, who led Leh- man with 14 points, made another sweet move to free herself for an inside jumper, and the Lady Lobes trailed 47-33 with just under four minutes remaining in the game. "They came to play tonight," Hays head coach Denny McDon- ald said. "Even though they got behind, they never quit. I'm not looking forward to playing them at their place next time." Bekah Lucio made a long pass to Kerry Robinson for a layup, Smith found Ariel Gonzales with a pass for another easy basket, and Lucio banked in a 3-pointer to further erase Hays' once-mammoth lead, but the Lady Lobes ran out of time in their comeback attempt. "Lehman and Coach Preuss did a great job making adjustments from the last time we played them," Hays guard Chrissy Arias said. "I think we were also a little off. We'll be ready the next time we play them." Although both teams tumed the ball over numerous times in a slop - pily played first half, Hays was able to steadily build its lead by taking advantage of a tremendous height advantage against the Lady Lobes. Preuss was forced at times to use LizValdarez, a 5-foot, 3-inch guard, to try and stop Hays' 5-8 Angeleigh Davis, and Garza, a 5-7 guard, was trying to front 6-2 Lady Rebel post Paige Lord on defense. See LADY REBS VS LOBOS, pg. 2B 2009 Hays High sports memories BETWEEN THE LINES his year has seemingly gone by very quickly in the world of Hays High sports. A few reflections on the highs and lows of 2009 at HHS (don't worry Lehman High fans, beat writer Mark Caul will write his Lobos year-in- review cetumn- next week) -: 1. The Hays girls basket- ball team's run to state - The highlight of the 2009 Hays High sports scene was the Lady Rebel basketball team making it to the state touma- ment for the second time in eight years. Head coach Denny McDonald masterfully guided his team through the playoffs as everything fell magically into place during the team's -postseason run. Hays knocked offWaller, Beaumont Ozen and Manor to qualify for the Class 4A Region III tournament in Houston. The Lady Rebs played playoff double head- ers along the way with district rival and fellow area power Del Valle at College Station and at Austin's Burger Stadium. The two fierce competitors even cheered for each other, making spirit lines for one another be- fore each played their games: At the regional tournament, it was almost inevitable Hays and DelValle would square offwith a trip to state on the line, and that's exactly what happened after the Lady Rebs knocked offAngelton in the regional semifinals. Despite falling behind Del Valle by nine points in the first half, Hays senior Shelby Calabrese helped the Lady Rebels storm back by nailing three 3-pointers before the break, and the deficit was trimmed to a single point at halffime. DelValle again surged ahead, leading by as many as five points late in See B THE UNES, lag. 2B Lehman hot shot Lobos' Garza on pace for record-breaking senior campaign BY MARK CAUL freepresssports@yahoo.com Lehman senior BriAnna Garza is a self- proclaimed basketball junkie who pos- sesses one of the sweetest shooting strokes you've ever seen. Each time she unleashes one ofher trademark jumpers, you expect every single shot to swish through the net almost effortlessly. Especially this season. Garza has been on an offensive tear for the Lady Lobes after Lehman head coach Danny Preuss noticed a slight hitch in her follow through a few weeks ago during a team practice. Garza has averaged 28 points per game over the past few weeks, which is by far the hottest scoring stretch in Lehman girls basketball history. Garza has scored more than 30 points in three of the Lady Lobos last five games. "Coach Preuss noticed that I wasn't completely following through on my shot so I have been focusing on doing that the past few weeks and it has paid offfor me," said GatT_a. "I've never scored this many points while at Lehman and it's been pretty amazing." A day after heeding Preuss' advice, Garza preceded to torch Navarre High for 31 points in a 55-54 come-from-behind win. Then, a few nights later, she eclipsed that effort with a 34- point explosion in Lehman's upset win over Canyon High in the Rebel Classic to propel the Lady Lobes into the silver bracket semifinals for the first time in school history. Terrell credited the play of Garza in helping bring her team back from an 18-point third quarter deficit. "That kid can stroke Three times in Leh- man's last five games Lady Lobe guard BriAnna Gar-za has scored more than 30 points. The sharp-shooting senior hopes to lead her team to its first-ever playoff victory this season. it from anywhere on the court," Ten'e, said. "We tried two or three people on her, but she always found a wayto work and get the ball to drive right byus. And when we fouled her, she made her free throwx She's amazing to watch." Garza is also shooting better than 90 percent from the free-throw stripe on the season. Although a slight bout with the flu slowed her down physically in a loss to Hays in the silver bracket semis, Preuss was impressed with Garza's willingness to remain on the floor and continue to compete against the Lady Rebs. "I still don't know how she played in that game as sick as she was," Preuss said. "She wasn't at her best physicaz, but she understood how much we needed her and she fought through it. It just shows what type of competitor she is." Garza finished with 13 points in the loss. But Garza recovered quickly in the district opener against Elgin, pouring in a season-high 36 points. The high scoring effort came after she missed her first few shots and didn't score her first bucket until late in the first quarter. Lehman teammates, who had grown accustomed to being on the receiving end of Garza's smooth-as-silk highlight reel passes, know they've been watching some- thing very special. "Sometimes, we just shake our heads at the things she is able to do," senior guard Bekah Lucio said. "Because everybody is always focused on Bri, it makes it easier for the rest ofus to get open shots. She is really a great player and an even better leader. It's been fun to watch her play this well." Although Lucio bur- ied the game winning 3-pointer to beat Navarre with sec- onds remaining in the game, it was Garza's hot shoot- ig throughout the night that ulnately paved the way for a Lehman victory. "I felt like I just couldn't miss, everything just felt so right for me that night," said Gar7_a. "But I was proud of 8ekah for getg herself in posi- tion to score after they had double teamed me on the final play. It was one of those nights I'll never forget." Most athletes who have parents as coaches am often faced with the pros- pect of heavy scrutiny from their peers, but Garza has still somehow managed to thrive. Her father David, who is currently a var- sity football coach at Navarre, was in atten- dance the night his youngest daughter lit it up against his home school and is proud ofthe fact BriAnna has made aname for herself at Lehman. "I am very proud of BriAnna," said Coach Garza. "She is always striving to be the best on the court and she's playing her See LEHMAN HOT SHOT, pg. 2B PHOTO BY JUDY COOPER Hays guard Caleb Kimbro drives to the basket during a game at the Rebel Classic. The Rebs lost their District 17-4A opener against Man- or Monday night at Bales Gym. Hays boys fall against Mustangs BY MARK CAUL freepresssports@yahoo.com The Hays boys basketball team is a work in progress. The young Rebels nearly passed a big test Monday night against one of the Dis- trict 17-4A favorites. Hays trailed Manor by a single point early in the fourth quarter before the Mustangs went on a huge run to ulti- mately beat the Rebels 54-36 in the league opener for both teams. Forrest Miller's two free throws brought Hays to within 30-29 with seven minutes, 50 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. That's when Manor explod- ed and put what was a close contest all game long out of reach in a hurry. Manor's heavily-recruited star guard LD Williams, who had been held in check most of the night, was the catalyst during the key stretch for the Mustangs. Williams hit a pull-up jumper, stole a pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup, and then made another steal and powered his way in for a dunk. He was fouled on both See HAYS BASKETBALL, pg. 2B Lobos enter district play despite injury-plagued season PHOTO BY JUDY COOPER Lehman guard Frank DeLeon sets up the Lobe offense during the team's hard-fought 53-47 loss to Burnet. Jonathan Garrion led the Lobes with 20 points. BY MARK gAUL freepresssports@yahoo.com Lehman head coach Thom- as Acker hasn't seen anything like it in his five seasons at the helm of the boys basketball program. Much of his roster has been depleted due to injury, includ- ing three of his projected start- ers. But with the start of district play only a few days away, the Lobes will have to grow up in a hurry if they are to make any noise in District 17-4A. Tarale Murry, Anthony Brad- shaw and Charles'Arflliams are still saddled with lingering in- juries and have yet to see the court this season. You can now add reserve guards Frank DeLeon and Pe- ter Guiterrez to the expand- ed list of the Lobos' walking wounded after each player suffered recent injuries. "It's been one thing after an- other for our team this year," Acker said. "But I give the kids that have continued to work hard and play as hard as they can despite everything a lot of credit." Senior forward ]onathan Garrion scored 20 points in the Lobos' 53-47 loss at Bumet as Lehman stood toe-to-toe with one of the biggest teams they've faced all season. The Bulldogs (11-3) boasted nine players over six feet tall and dominated inside against the smaller Lobes, racing out to an early 15-11 lead behind 6-foot, 6-inch Chaston Hall, who finished with a team-high 22 points Lehman senior guard Eddie Chabarria got on track after starting point guard DeAndre Carson found himself unchar- acteristically in foul trouble. Carson was forced to sit out the entire second quarter and most of the third quarter. Chabarria's short jumper brought the Lobos within 30- 26 as the first half ended. "I thought Eddie came in and gave us some good min- utes after DeAndre went out," Acker said. "We needed him to score a little more than normal and he responded." A low scoring third quarter kept the Lobes close as Gar- rion went to work inside, scor- ing on consecutive trips to bring Lehman within 34-32. But back-to-back jumpers by Bumet guards Kort Everts and Stewart Berg gave the Bull- dogs a 38-32 advantage enter- ing the final period. Lehman's Dane Peddycoart scored an inside bucket only seconds into the final period to pull Lehman closer at 38- 34, but the Lobos would get no closer as Everts and Hall kept Burnet ahead with late free throws. Acker praised his team's abil- ity to stay close to the talented Bulldogs, despite his team's re- cent injuries and foul trouble. "I was pleased that even though we weren't anywhere close to full strength against a bigger, more experienced team like Burnet, we still had our chances to win," Acker said. "That's what we're go- ing to have to do once district starts. There will be teams that we won't match up with on pa- per but we'll have to play ex- tremely well to stay with teams like Del Vaile, San Marcos and Manor." The Lobes (3-10) will open district play at Lockhart before heading to Corpus Christi for the Sinton Tournament over the holiday break. "We want to try and open district on a high note and then build momentmn for the rest of the season," Acker said. "Hopefully, we can get some of our players back soon and try and gain some confidence as a team."