Seven Lakes High School, Spartans, Texas high school girls basketball, Katy ISD

Spartans hand Tigers 1st district loss

By STEPHEN GREENWELL, Times Correspondent
Posted 1/7/20

It’s a new calendar year for Seven Lakes, and for coach Angela Spurlock, the hard work of early season practices and growing pains of losses are starting to show results when it matters.

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Seven Lakes High School, Spartans, Texas high school girls basketball, Katy ISD

Spartans hand Tigers 1st district loss

Posted

It’s a new calendar year for Seven Lakes, and for coach Angela Spurlock, the hard work of early season practices and growing pains of losses are starting to show results when it matters.

The Spartans looked like a different team Tuesday than the one that suffered a 20-point loss to Tompkins in their district opener three games ago. Seven Lakes used crisp interior passing and ball-fakes to counterattack game-long pressure from Katy for a 45-39 win on Jan. 7.

The win improved the Spartans to 2-2 in District 19-6A and handed the Tigers (2-1) their first loss in district play. It also snapped Katy’s 21-game district winning streak.

“The New Year’s resolution, there aren’t any,” Spurlock said. “The New Year’s blessing is that I get to coach this team.

“I’m excited about the New Year, I’m excited about what the future holds, I’m excited about this basketball team.”

It was an exciting back-and-forth game as the matchup represented a clash of styles. Katy opened the game with a fullcourt press, but took it off after it led to four easy first quarter buckets by the Spartans.

Spurlock said during practices, there was an emphasis on preparing for a variety of pressure defenses.

“You know when you play Katy, you’re going to get everything,” she said. “You’re going to get intense defense, fullcourt pressure, halfcourt pressure. You’re going to get an extended zone, you’re going to get strong man-to-man. We worked really hard on making sure that we’re un-pressable.”

Seven Lakes led 12-6 after a quarter, but Katy went on an 8-0 run after switching to a halfcourt 1-2-2 press. The teams traded buckets to a 21-21 halftime score, and heading into the fourth quarter, Seven Lakes only led 31-30. However, the depth of the Spartans led to their eventual victory.

The Tigers took a 33-31 lead with 7:40 left, after a 3-pointer by junior guard Sasha Fernandez, and held a 37-35 lead with 3:55 left after a layup by senior wing Allana Thompson.

From there though, Seven Lakes took over. Sophomore guard Cailyn “KK” Tucker used a quick head fake, followed by a strong drive to the hoop, for three layups in the fourth quarter— one play drew a foul as well—and she finished with seven points, all in the final quarter.

“Going into the game, we knew they were going to want to jump all over and grab the ball and go, fast-paced,” Tucker said. “We knew pass fakes and shot fakes would get them off the ground, and we could just attack.”

Her second layup tied the score, 37-37, with 3:01 left. The Spartans took the lead for good on an interior jumper by junior Ib Afolabi after she caught an errant pass in the lane. Afolabi finished with a team-high 12 points, scored mostly with good positioning in the lane after the Spartans broke the press or on rolls toward the basket.

“We definitely train and practice, and work on drills and our transition game to get me up and down the floor,” she said.

Tucker’s third layup stretched the lead to 41-37 with 2:05 left. Katy’s Joy Jegede answered with a score in the paint with 1:40 left, but the Tigers struggled to score down the stretch. Afolabi had two blocks in the fourth quarter, and while Thompson had a game-high 17 points, she finished 2-for-6 from the free throw line, and Fernandez fouled out with 1:05 remaining.

With Katy forced to foul in the final minute, Afolabi stretched the lead with a pair of free throws.

Illustrating the depth of the Spartans, seven different players scored at least three points: Afolabi, Tucker, juniors Daniela Alzate (6 points), Lily Baumgardner (6) and Ximena Diez (6), senior Bailey Bulawa (5), and sophomore Summer Halphen (3).

Tucker said her teammates feed off of each other.

“I think we all just had to go in, ready to attack and keep building on everyone’s points and building off each other,” she said. “Our energy is fantastic, and we just have so much fun on and off the court that we’re able to have great communication.”

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