NIXON — It was just a five-point game at the end of the first quarter and a four-point game with 3:01 left in the second, but a 12-1 run to end the half gave McMullen County an insurmountable lead that would ultimately give the Nixon-Smiley Lady Mustangs the 54-28 loss at home on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
“We got away from what was working,” Lady Mustangs Head Coach Douglas Boatright said after the game. “Like I talked to my point guard and my other guards at halftime, and even in the second quarter, we got away from what was working for us. If the well is not dry, keep going to the well. Once we need to adjust, we can adjust from there, but we just got away from what was working for us.”
After scoring 21 points in the first half, the Lady Mustangs only had four points in the third quarter and three in the fourth.
Meanwhile, McMullen County’s Caeli Taylor lit up the scoreboard with her jump shot, scoring on mid-to-long-range jumpers.
“Honestly the biggest factor in the game was we just got to be able to stop go-to players and #2 [Caeli Taylor] got 32 of their 54 [points],” Boatright added. “We got to be able to shut down or control a player like that and keep her from creating offense for the rest of the team, which is what she kind of did tonight.”
The top scorers for Nixon-Smiley were Faith Pullin and Kaytlin “Katie” Tschoepe.
“Attacking with our post players, I think that’s what Lady Mustang basketball has gotten away from in previous years,” Boatright, “but with Katie and Faith down low, that’s a tandem that I honestly would stack up against anybody’s tandem in the district. If we can just keep going down low and feeding our post players, it’s going to create scoring opportunities. Between the two of them, they combined for 24 of our 28 points.”
Defensively, the Lady Mustangs have shifted from a zone to more of a man-to-man philosophy. Key players Tuesday night include the two post players and guard Yesenia Limon who “played a solid defensive game,” according to Boatright.
With district beginning in the new year, Boatright noted that Pullin and Tschoepe as well as point guard Lilliana Jenks will be leaned on heavily on the offense. Defensively, that trio as well as Kiara Andrada (who was out with injury but is set to return after Christmas break) will be key players.
“If we can get those four where they’re having solid games night in and night out once district gets rolling, I like our chances come February,” Boatright said.
Nixon-Smiley travels to take on Hallettsville Sacred Heart on Thursday before a scheduled Cuero Tournament from Dec. 27-29.
Photo by José Torres/Gonzales Inquirer
Point guard Lillian Jenks (30) looks to set up the offense in Nixon-Smiley’s 54-28 loss against McMullen County.