“We have a lot of talent and skill on this team and it’s starting to come together, that’s what we’ve needed,” Jategaonkar said. “There’s been lows and highs but we found out how to be consistent and we’re building on that."
This year has brought a test of adversity for Seven Lakes.
The Spartans have had to deal with a number of injuries to a young team and it derailed them early in the season and district play, but since the winter break, the Spartans have seemed to find their stride.
The Spartans have won three of five since they came back from break, including earning big wins over Cinco Ranch and Tompkins, and they kept things going on Friday, beating Morton Ranch 56-32 as the Spartans continue to fight towards a top four spot in district 19-6A.
“The biggest thing for us is that we’re back on the floor together,” said Seven Lakes head coach Angela Spurlock. “We have not had a lot of luck with the injuries and it really hit us hard. Getting them back and playing together, you can see how they’re getting it and gaining that chemistry. We’re not where we need to be right now, but we’re definitely making progress to get where we want to be. The practice is starting to pay off.”
Friday’s win was a complete team effort from the Spartans and it started it he first quarter, with Justice Carlton getting Seven Lakes off to the right start, scoring seven points and leading Seven Lakes as they jumped out to a 15-8 lead. That lead continued to grow in the second as they grew the lead to eight points heading into the locker room.
“We’re just getting closer and getting better every day,” Carlton said. “It’s the little things, the team dinners, watching TikTok’s together, it just brings us together as a team and it’s really started to click lately.”
Morton Ranch made a run early in the third, but Seven Lakes bounced right back, switching to a full court press with a half court trap and making a number of plays to get easy baskets to break the game open. Madison Carlton was a huge part of that, creating havoc on defense and coming up with a number of steals and baskets in the quarter.
“It was a close game, and sometimes it takes a player going out there and being a spark, tonight that was Maddie,” Spurlock said. “She decided that she was going to go make plays, she went out, made steals, got us on the break and scored baskets and it allowed us to get that quick momentum we needed. Those moments are important, it sparks the team and it led to our really great finish to the game.”
Shreya Jategaonkar was also a huge part of that third quarter run, making three three-pointers and executing the Spartans offense, getting people involved and being the primary ballhandler when they needed to run a play. She has become a huge part of the Spartans attack, as she takes pressure off of Justice Carlton, is smart with the basketball and is able to make plays offensively.
Seven Lakes ended the quarter up 44-25 and it was a comfortable fourth quarter as they rolled to the win.
“We have a lot of talent and skill on this team and it’s starting to come together, that’s what we’ve needed,” Jategaonkar said. “There’s been lows and highs but we found out how to be consistent and we’re building on that. We’re putting those final pieces together and we have to keep going.”
Every game from here on out is an important one for the Spartans, as they are locked in a four way battle for the final two spots in district and currently sit a game back of fourth place. The Spartans have embraced a do or die mentality, and they’re ready to fight the rest of the way.
“It’s back against the wall and that’s the way we are approaching every day from here on out,” Spurlock said. “We just have to work hard every day, keep encouraging one another and not get down on ourselves. We understand where we are and that’s part of it, you have to understand that and where you want to be. We are going to work to get there and put everything we have into it.”
Seven Lakes 56, Morton Ranch 32
Points: (SL) Justice Carlton 20, Shreya Jategaonkar 18, Dulce Franco 6, Madison Carlton 4, Lisa Faidi 4, Lenore Hudspeth 2, Calianna Calibo 2; (MR) Trinitee McFarland 17, Lydia Polk 6, Nykayla Bement 4, Angelica Davis 2, Alexis Scott 2, Keyona Richardson 1;
Halftime: Seven Lakes 24-16; 3-Pointers: (SL) Jategaonkar 4, Franco 2, Carlton; (MR) Polk, Bement, McFarland; Records: Seven Lakes: 14-13, 5-5; Morton Ranch: 10-17, 1-10;
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