NIXON — It’s must-win season for the Nixon-Smiley Lady Mustangs who are competing to sneak their way into the postseason. After taking down Yoakum 40-32 at home last Friday, the Lady Mustangs are right in the thick of things.
“It was a big must-win game for us,” Lady Mustangs head coach Doug Boatright said after the game. “This was our third time playing Yoakum, so we had plenty of film on them against us and I told the girls, they pressed us a little bit at Yoakum, it kind of flustered us, we worked on going over the press break.”
In their previous matchup, the Lady Mustangs lost 49-34. Boatright issued a challenge to his post players, telling them “we got to go after them,” and sure enough they did.
“My two starting post players combined for 32 of our 40 points,” he said. “So that was crucial because that’s an added aspect of our offense to where it gets them out-of-system a little bit.”
Kaytlin “Katie” Tschoepe led the team in scoring with 17 points. Faith Pullin was right behind with 13.
“Katie had a heck of a game and she’s struggled all district long, she’s the team captain, been a varsity since she was a freshman and I laid down the challenge,” Boatright added. “I said ‘hey we need you to step up’ and she came out huge for us tonight.”
After going up 8-7 early in the first quarter, the Lady Mustangs maintained their lead throughout the game, ending the half up 19-13, then ending the third quarter up 27-20 and finishing off Yoakum with the 40-32 victory.
Despite the win, Nixon-Smiley did struggle, especially early on. Boatright believed the team could have had a bigger lead if it wasn’t for the turnovers.
“We’re going to have to hammer down on valuing the possession of the ball” he said. “We talked to them at halftime, first half we had 14 turnovers. Second half we only had three. You see with 14 turnovers…we were up 19-13 at halftime and the second half we limit the turnovers and busted it open to I believe it was 11 at one point. Turnovers are going to be crucial. We have to manage those. We picked up our defense as well. The girls were dialed in defensively wanting to get the stop and get the victory.”
Sophomore Kiara Andrada had a big impact on defense as the head of most of the Lady Mustangs’ press and zone defenses.
“She didn’t get much on the points side, but her ball pressure was important defensively for us,” Boatright said.
Andrada finished with three points. Lilliana Jenks added three while Gracelyn Mejia came away with two points.
The win forced a tie at fourth place between both teams. If Yoakum and Nixon-Smiley were to tie at the end of the season, both teams would compete in a play-in game where the winner would move on to the playoffs as the fourth seed. Currently Karnes City, Poth and Luling remain the top three in District 27-3A.
“If few can get that one in Stockdale, worst-case scenario we’ll be tied for fourth with Yoakum and have to have a play-in game,” Boatright said Friday. “If we can get one from Poth or get one from Luling, that’s definitely going to be the cherry on top.”
The Lady Mustangs did just that, knocking off Stockdale 34-15. Nixon-Smiley host Poth on Friday before traveling to Luling on Tuesday.