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Marble Falls boys hoops earns win in season opener against Lockhart

See video of the Mustangs’ celebration here.

CAPTION: The Marble Falls Mustangs celebrate their first win of the 2022-23 season. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Marble Falls High School boys basketball team beat Lockhart 55-47 Nov. 12 to begin the 2022-23 season with a victory.

It’s the first win for the Mustangs (1-0) since the 2020-21 season that snapped a 36-game losing streak not including forfeits because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is a belief in our locker room,” head coach Travis Crain said. “We have been trusting, we’ve been going through some things together. This group has never fallen apart. We all stayed together.”

The Mustangs trailed 14-5 after the first period and 25-14 at the half.

But Marble Falls showed its resilience in the second half, outscoring the Lions 15-10 in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 35-34 going into the final stanza.

Both teams matched each other point for point until the final 3 minutes and 39 seconds. That’s when sophomore guard Tidus Willie, the captain as voted by on the players, was fouled on a putback. He added the free throw to complete the 3-point play to give the Mustangs a 46-45 lead. That triggered a 9-2 run to end the contest where the Mustangs let their offense be dictated by their defense.

Lockhart’s last basket came with 1:51 left on an offensive rebound. Meanwhile, Marble Falls used a triangle look where ball handlers passed from the top of the key to players on the block for high percentage shots. In addition, the Mustangs made their free throws when it counted, connecting on eight of 12 attempts in the fourth period. In all the Mustangs made 14 of 26 free throws.

Crain commended his players for being patient in waiting for players to get open for high percentage shots.

“I was proud of them for finding holes,” he said. “We made adjustments at the half. I think we missed four or five lay-ups (in the first half). Let’s stick with what’s working.”

Willie led the Mustangs with 22 points followed by junior Cooper Cochran, who had 10, junior guard Jaime Castillo added 7, junior Davis Dreisbach had 6, junior Kody Smith dropped in 5, senior Averick Adams scored 3, and sophomore Noah Lyon finished with 2.

“This group’s mentality makes us go and makes things happen,” Crain said. “It’s something they’ve encouraged and bought into.”

The win is even more remarkable considering the team was waiting for some to finish their commitment to football. The coach noted it had only three practices with the entire varsity leading up to the contest.

As for the losing streak, Crain said the program didn’t spend time concentrating on it and realized long ago the players needed time to grow. The question was when the program would see the results and whether it could endure until the scoreboard reflected what had been planted.

“It never felt that way, only when people were talking about it,” he said. “We weren’t (discussing it) in the locker room. We had a young group that we were trying to develop. We understood that we were going to be undermanned.”

The Mustangs welcome Austin Navarro with the subvarsity playing at 6 p.m. and the varsity taking the Max Copeland Gym court at 7:30 p.m.

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