CAPTION: Burnet junior post MaeSyn Gay and the Lady Dawgs are looking to add another district championship to the trophy case. But realignment has brought new challengers to the group of eight Lady Dawgs who return this season. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
The Burnet High School girls basketball team beat Hutto 51-39 Nov. 29 for its fourth straight victory to begin the 2022-23 season.
The Lady Dawgs (5-2) have earned wins against Mason 58-32 Nov. 22, Dripping Springs 57-24 Nov. 21, Leander 63-29 Nov. 18 and Lake Belton 59-51 Nov. 9. They lost to Stephenville 43-23 Nov. 11 and Smithson Valley 45-39 Nov. 15.
Two players who have been with the team since the start of the season are junior posts MaeSyn Gay and Zaria Solis after they finished their commitment to the volleyball team, which lost in the third round of the playoffs Nov. 8.
“We’re trying to give them as much as they can handle,” said head coach Rick Gates, who is in his sixth year at the helm. “It’s early in the season, and I’m playing with the rotation on a game-by-game basis. I’m seeing different combinations on the floor and seeing how we’re playing together as a team. Obviously we’d like to win these games. What’s important is to show we’re cohesive and trying to get better.”
Eight players return from the Class 4A Region III finalist team, a squad that repeated as the district champions. Returning starters are senior guard Grace Gates, Gay and Solis. Other players include seniors Abi Aguillon, Kendall Bible, Christina Graves and Danielle Oakley and sophomores Sydney Lough, Sierra Schaefer and Kloe Shannon. Schaefer and Shannon are the newcomers.
“I feel like we have a good core we brought back,” the coach said. “They’re all contributing and able to give us some good minutes. We’re very grounded and rounded.”
Lough serves as the team’s point guard.
“We brought her up midyear, and she got some playing time on varsity,” the coach said. “She’s playing really well and doing a lot of point guard duties.”
Realignment put Burnet, which was at the Class 4A state tournament to end the 2018-19 season, in District 24-4A with Jarrell, Lago Vista, Lampasas and Marble Falls.
The coach noted every team in the district advanced to the playoffs last season.
“With realignment, I felt like it changed our district quite a bit,” he said. “The only district opponent we kept was Jarrell. Lago Vista and Marble Falls are brand new. We played them in non-district. Lampasas has a history of being in the district with us though they weren’t for the last two years. I feel like it’ll be a challenge.”
Gay missed several weeks last season because of injury, which is another reason Gates is mixing up the rotation.
“We’re looking at what we’re doing well and what we can do better,” he said. “Every year when we start the season we have high expectations, we set lofty goals. We’re in phase one, and we’re trying to learn who we are as a team and our roles. The biggest thing is that we’re playing our best as we go into district play. Our girls have a lot of confidence — they’ve seen us do it. We feel like we can have another great year in district.”
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