HHS girls take third
By KLINT SPILLER
The Hays High School girls' basketball team didn't have trouble Saturday until DeSoto deployed its half-court trap defense.
It gave the Indian ball carriers fits, and Hays High (2-1) committed 11 turnovers in the second half. Fortunately for the Indians, they made their free throws.
Hays High made 10 of 12 free throws in the final 31âÑ2 minutes to hold off DeSoto's rally and won 37-33 to earn third place in the Hays City Shoot-Out.
DeSoto dropped to 1-2.
"Their pressure and stuff late caused the game to get sloppy," said Hays High head coach Kirk Maska. "... They were trapping well, and we were playing side to side instead of north to south. We weren't getting any attempts on the basket. Thank goodness, we shot free throws well."
The Indians made 21 of 27 free throws in the game.
"We don't normally shoot 75 percent," Maska said. "I'll give the girls credit. They had dead legs with three games in three days."
Hays High had more free throw attempts than shot attempts. The Indians finished 8 of 25 from the field and only had two shot attempts in the fourth quarter.
Senior forward Katelyn Schumacher led the squad with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, but she did all of her damage in the first half.
"She was open, and we just couldn't get the ball to her because we were being pressured," Maska said. "We panicked a little bit, and we've got to get over that. We are seniors. We can handle the ball."
Senior shooting guard Megan Bird added seven points, and senior forwards Emily Braun and Taylor Herman each scored six.
Bird said Hays High needs to change its mindset when facing press defenses.
"A lot of us ball handlers are kind of scared to take it and go (against the press)," Bird said. "We just need to get in the mentality that we are good enough to handle the ball and just go and pass them by."
Hays High dominated the rebound margin, grabbing 36 rebounds to DeSoto's 21. Herman led the Indians with nine.
The Indians keyed on stopping DeSoto's 6-foot-1 sophomore forward Megan Bonar, and it worked.
Bonar scored eight points on 3-of-15 shooting.
"On our press, we tried to just deny her the ball," Bird said, "which I thought helped a lot because none of their point guards were really good ball handlers. They just tried to get it to her."
Hays High jumped to an early lead and never lost it, but DeSoto came close with its press.
DeSoto erased Hays High's 7-point halftime lead and tied the game at 27-27 with 3:20. DeSoto did that by going on a 13-6 run that was fueled by 10 Hays High turnovers.
However, the Indians were just too hot from the foul line for DeSoto to handle.
Last season, the Indians started slow, going 1-2 at the Hays City Shoot-Out. Bird said 2-1 sounds much better.
"Having that second win really helps," Bird said.