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Marble Falls boys basketball loses Thanksgiving contest to Vandegrift

CAPTION: Marble Falls sophomore Noah Lyon (left) and junior Kody Smith line up to run a play during the loss to Leander Vandegrift Nov. 21. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Marble Falls High School boys basketball team lost to Leander Vandegrift 64-40 Nov. 21 before going on the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Mustangs (2-2) returned to the Max Copeland Gym floor after falling to Waco High 52-27 Nov. 18.

Head coach Travis Crain said his squad was within striking distance of making it interesting for both opponents. But the Mustangs are still in the learning phase of how to play a complete contest to earn a victory.

“Our youth is a good thing, but we’re still figuring things,” he said. “It’s a matter of translating our energy from offense to defense. It’s an adjustment process, and the effort is there.”

In the game against the Vipers, Vandegrift led 18-7 after the first quarter. But the Mustangs refused to go away, picking up their defensive intensity and scoring lay-ups by attacking the basket thanks to sophomore guard Tidus Willie and senior guard Jamie Castillo. Castillo scored a fastbreak bucket to trim the deficit 28-24 that forced the Vipers to call a timeout with 2 minutes and 25 seconds left in the half.

Vandegrift responded with a 5-0 run and weren’t seriously threatened again. The Vipers outscored the Mustangs 29-16 in the second half.

Crain noted Marble Falls scored the same number of points, 17, in the second quarter as Vandegrift. But the Vipers’ depth was a key part in the second half.

Willie led with 12 points followed by Castillo with 8 and senior Averick Adams, sophomore Garen Jones and junior guard Kody Smith each with 6.

Against Waco High, the Mustangs trailed and cut it to about a 14-point game when the Lions called a timeout. Crain said Waco High expressed some frustration it didn’t have answers for what Marble Falls was doing. The Lions finally found some rhythm and scored enough for the lopsided victory.

“They only outscored us by four in the second half,” Crain said. “We ended that game in the second half with a lot of great things. I’m proud of our dudes cause they stuck with it.”

The other challenge for Marble Falls is to adjust better to playing on the road.

“I can give you the hypothetical, but you’re not going to get those calls,” the coach said.

He doesn’t second-guess himself on scheduling these two opponents representing high schools with larger enrollments because he believes these opponents will help make the Mustangs battle-tested for District 24-4A competition.

“We want to be better in January and February,” he said.

Marble Falls returns to the court Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 1-3, in its own tournament.

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