By Moses Leos III
Age was but a number Tuesday for the Hays Lady Rebels in their season opening game against the San Antonio Edison Golden Bears.
Forty-two points scored by Lady Rebel underclassmen, 15 from freshman Gabbi Bosquez, allowed Hays to thrash Edison 78-23 in Bales Gym.
“For the first game of the year, if you can do something like that, that’s great,” Hays head coach Danny Preuss said. “The girls played hard tonight. I can’t fault their effort and hustle.”
Defense was the key as the Lady Rebels forced over 20 Edison turnovers, with over half of them steals. Hays’ high-pressure defense caused problems for the Golden Bears, who couldn’t find consistency on the offensive end.
Preuss said the team’s ability to recognize and anticipate Edison passes led to success.
“A lot of it was [Edison] telegraphed (their passes),” Bosquez said. “It was easy to anticipate them.”
But Hays’ defense wasn’t enough to shake off a sluggish start. Hays leapt out to an 8-1 lead in the first six minutes, but could only take an 11-3 advantage after a quarter.
Preuss attributed first game jitters to the slow start. Inconsistent shooting also played a primary role in Hays’ first half offensive woes.
“We weren’t shooting in rhythm. We didn’t shoot the ball well,” Preuss said. “I just think we missed a lot of shots and missed a lot of free throws. It’s the first game of the year.”
Hays expanded the lead to 16-5 before Edison closed the gap. A three pointer from junior Jasmine Hernandez cut Hays’ lead to 16-8 with 5:37 in the second quarter. That became the final points Edison tallied for the next nine minutes.
The Lady Rebel defense clamped down on the Golden Bears, guided by the speed and pressure of the backcourt.
In turn, Hays’ offense thrived on fast break points. It allowed Hays to close the half on a 16-0 run, giving them a 32-8 halftime lead.
Momentum carried over as Hays added a 13-0 run to begin the second half. An Edison free throw with 3:36 left in the third quarter ended their scoring drought.
It was all part of a 39-5 run Hays orchestrated over a 13-plus minute span.
Helping that along was the rebounding of sophomore Jada Finister, who finished with a double-double in her first ever varsity start. Finister’s aggressive play in the paint gave Hays’ several opportunities for second chance points.
Finister finished with 7 points and 20 rebounds.
“Rebounding is what I’m good at,” Finister said. “I have to go out there, be strong and grab the ball.”
The Lady Rebel offense maintained that momentum into the final frame. Hays outscored Edison 22-10 down the stretch.
Both Finister and Bosquez said working as a team was the basis for success.
“It’s a good start for us,” Bosquez said.
Sophomore Choon Hee Chae scored ten points, while sophomore Tara Ramsey had eight.