NEW BRAUNFELS — For the second season in a row, the Gonzales Lady Apaches ended their season in the bi-district round, this time losing the #24 Canyon Lake Lady Hawks 43-20 at Canyon High School in New Braunfels. Shooting problems that plagued the Lady Apaches all season proved once again to be an issue. Although there were plenty of turnovers in the first half, Gonzales head coach William Ramsey felt shooting was a bigger factor.
“It’s been a focus for us all year just trying to improve our scoring,” he said. “Tonight was more about the scoring than anything. Everybody turns the ball over and that wasn’t a major factor, it was more about the scoring.”
Although the team kept pace with Canyon Lake in the first quarter, down just four, the Lady Hawks would build their lead throughout the game, outscoring Gonzales 8-3 in the second, 12-6 in the third and 12-4 in the fourth for the 23-point victory.
As the game progressed, the Lady Apaches were forced to press, which then led to fouls and eventually more free throw opportunities for Canyon Lake.
“We were aggressive tonight,” Ramsey admitted. “Of course, when we started pressing them, we’re going to get more fouls in that situation. We play with fouls and just keep on going.”
Midway through the third, the Lady Apaches caught fire, with a three pointer made by Chella Longoria and then Hailey Riojas, to cut the lead to 23-16. Gonzales had a chance to cut the lead again, but then the Lady Hawks regained possession and ended the quarter on an 8-0 run.
“This team, they get after it, there’s no doubt, they give everything they got,” Ramsey said of his squad. “They’re learning all year, we are so much better right now than the day we walked on the floor in the fall. We really attacked the basket well, we rebound well, we do a lot of things well. Just got to continue to improve our shooting. Our shooting, it was so bad to start the year and it’s so much better now. Of course, tonight, we didn’t get some shots to fall. This gym is a little tougher to shoot in. Even [Canyon Lake] struggled on their shooting tonight compared to what they do on times. We just got to keep improving and keep working for next year.”
Longoria ended the game with a team-leading seven points. Riojas added five points while Devon Williams had four, Ali Rocha had three and Kayley Martinez had one point.
Gonzales loses just one player, senior Desaray Rodriguez, as next season the Lady Apaches are expected to return nine players to the team. The experience this season as well as the realignment for next year should bode well for a deep playoff push.
“Of nine girls coming back tonight, only three of them have been in a playoff game and they hadn’t play a whole lot and that game wasn’t very close either from the start,” Ramsey said. “Those three did a lot better job tonight, the others got the experience tonight and understand what it’s all about. Playoff atmosphere is different than regular atmosphere. They got that experience tonight. With our new district and the first round we’ll play with next year, I think we got a chance to make a run next year.”
Next season, the Lady Apaches have been realigned to District 30-4A with Navarro, La Vernia, Pleasanton, Poteet and San Antonio Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering. As of press time, the UIL has not made a decision on Poteet’s appeal. According to Stephen Garcia of the Pleasanton Express, the Poteet Aggies are trying to join District 29-4A, which includes the same opponents from football (Carrizo Springs, Crystal City, Devine, Hondo and Pearsall).