By Moses Leos III
The Hays High Lady Rebels found out the hard way on Friday that size can overwhelm speed.
An overwhelming Bowie Lady Bulldog size advantage, aided by 6-foot, 1-inch junior Kianna Ray and 6-foot senior Lydia Baxter, was too much for Hays in a 61-39 loss in Bales Gym.
“They (Bowie) are big,” Hays Lady Rebel head coach Danny Preuss said. “We haven’t seen anything like that this year.”
Two Lady Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by 20-points from Ray. Lady Rebel freshman Gabby Bosquez scored a team-high 11 points, with senior Karlie Schroeder scoring nine points.
But with a win on Tuesday, Hays falls into a second place tie with Anderson and Westlake in 14-6A.
Working around Bowie’s length was the largest challenge for Hays, which struggled at times to find offensive rhythm.
But Hays kept pace with Bowie in the first quarter, playing “inspired ball,” according to Preuss. Using its own zone defense, Hays limited the Lady Bulldogs to only 13 points.
On the offensive end, Hays effectively worked against Bowie’s zone defense to find scoring chances. A three-pointer from sophomore Choon Hee Chae gave Hays a slim 10-7 lead with 1:58 left in the first frame. Bowie held a 13-10 lead after the first quarter.
“I think our movement was better. We weren’t just standing around like we were in the second quarter,” senior guard Alexis Delgado said. “We had our momentum going for us.”
But the bottom rapidly fell out in the second quarter as Bowie asserted its size. After Hays closed the Bowie lead to 15-14, the Bulldogs exploded for an 18-2 run to end the half.
Delgado said Bowie’s size allowed them to cover the floor. It created issues as Hays guards were forced to lob passes over the outstretched arms of Bowie defenders. In turn, the Lady Bulldogs created turnovers and turned them into points. Hays committed 12 turnovers in the first half, seven in the first quarter.
With a 33-16 halftime lead, Bowie maintained momentum and continued its onslaught into the third quarter. Bowie outscored Hays 18-8 in the quarter.
Hindering the Lady Rebels was the loss of junior Tara Ramsey, who fouled out with 6:07 left in the third quarter.
Preuss said losing Ramsey was difficult as she is a “scorer.” In addition, he said Ramsey’s size allows her to handle taller opposition. But ultimately, he felt the team was in “awe” of Bowie’s height.
“It was like our eyes got really big and we forgot how to play basketball for a little bit,” Preuss said. “But it’s not that we didn’t compete. But they put us away in the second and third quarter. That zone defense they had worked well.”
Hays fought back in the fourth, aided by nine points from Bosquez. Assisting the Lady Rebels’ 15-10 fourth quarter run was an increase in tempo. On the defensive side, Preuss said the team generated more pressure.
“We kind of pushed the ball more, so they wouldn’t set up in their zone,” Delgado said. “And we kept cutting in and out, and we went up-tempo.”
Delgado said Friday’s game allowed the team to understand how to play against Bowie. For Preuss, the team now prepares for the second half of the district schedule.
While he contends Bowie is the team to beat in 14-6A, Preuss said the Lady Rebels continue to control their own destiny.
“It’s there for us, we’re still in the driver seat,” he said. “It’s beating the teams we need to beat and giving Bowie all the problems they can handle.”