By Kyle Gregory
Lady Cavalier basketball corrected a three-game skid Tuesday night with a 43-33 victory over visiting Austin High.
“It always feels good to win at home,” Lake Travis coach Shannon Haddon said.
“I think we’re most comfortable here. With our last three very close and well played losses, it’s good to be on the other side of the chart.”
The win comes at crucial time as Lake Travis (10-21, 5-5 in district) looks to establish itself as a playoff team in District 15-5A. The Cavaliers are currently vying with Westlake and Del Valle to lock up a post-season slot.
“Our goal of making playoffs is alive still and not only are we fighting for that, we’re fighting for position,” Haddon said. “We’d love to win out and try to get second or third, but right now it’s one game at a time.”
Playing without senior Abbie Mahlum, the Lady Cavaliers relied on defense and timely scoring to overcome the Maroons.
“Everybody’s having to step up,” Haddon said. “Abbie is one of our biggest, on both sides of the ball, players and she’s done for the season. This is a team that we needed to beat, that we should beat, and sometimes if we make silly mistakes, we need to make up for them in other ways. There were some kids that stepped up and made confidence shots that they hadn’t been taking earlier in the year.”
Annick Morris jump-started the Lady Cavaliers in the first quarter, scoring on two consecutive possessions, with a steal and an offensive rebound in between. Lake Travis utilized its size advantage to stymie the Austin offense. The Maroon inside game was a non-factor and Morris, Mandy Karako and Katelyn Berry feasted on rebounds as Austin struggle to sink baskets from beyond the arc. Despite their defensive dominance, Lake Travis only managed a 10-6 lead at the end of the quarter due to some costly turnovers.
The second quarter was the Lady Cavaliers’ best. Lake Travis held Austin to only two points, while scoring 10 of their own, six coming from Abigail Hicks. Lake Travis went into the locker room up 20-10.
“At first, I was concerned with Abbie being out; in the end, we all played up and scored and contributed,” Hicks said.
Temporarily suppressed, the turnover bug returned with vengeance in the second half. Down 10, Austin sped up the pace of the game, and the Lady Cavaliers needed time to adjust. As Austin started piling on points (helped by three consecutive three pointers from Chelmon Clemons) Lake Travis’ ball handling suffered, and the Lady Cavs failed to get open looks. The Maroons pulled within two, but some clutch shooting by Lake Travis took some of the pressure off. At the end of the third, the Lady Cavaliers led 32-27.
“We talked about them coming out in the second half and having to chase us because we had a substantial lead,” Haddon said. “I don’t like to have that big of a lead at halftime, just because it takes us a little bit longer to get in the groove. It shook us up a little bit, but we were able to recover and get some different personnel in there and get some sparks on defense.”
The majority of the final quarter resembled a soccer match more than a basketball game. The game devolved into a flurry of whistles and turnovers, with only the occasional basket scored. The frequent stops favored Lake Travis defense and the Lady Cavs methodically regained their halftime lead and secured the win.
“It was pretty intense; it was pretty stressful,” Hicks said. “I’m just happy we won.”
Hicks finished with 11 points, while Berry chipped in nine, including two 3-pointers.
In their penultimate district game, Lake Travis travels to Bowie Friday at 7p.m.
“I’m really excited; It’s senior year, and I really want to go to the playoffs,” Hicks said.
We welcome your comments on our stories but will publish only those that do not violate our commenting guidelines