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Ten Highland Lakes Sports Insights

Caption: Burnet junior MaeSyn Gay is one reason why the Lady Dawgs are having success during the pre-district season. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

It’s hard to believe students have one more week before taking a two-week vacation from classes. But athletes will play in some contests before and after Christmas to keep them sharp and ready for the opening of district play. Still, there’s plenty to review after weekend tournaments that finished Dec. 10.

  1. The Marble Falls High School boys basketball team lost the consolation championship of the San Antonio Independent School District tournament to Converse Judson 79-30. Still, the Mustangs won both games played Dec. 9, a 43-38 victory against Pearsall and a 57-56 win against Eagle Pass Winn, after losing in the opener to Belton 80-45 Dec. 8. This tournament allowed the Mustangs to gut out a couple of wins and teach the players the importance to closing out opponents, which is one of the hardest traits in sports to learn.
  2. The Marble Falls Lady Mustangs traveled to Boerne to face the Lady Hounds Dec. 9. Boerne and Fredericksburg are considered the top teams in Class 4A Region IV. The Lady Hounds beat Marble Falls 52-21 in a contest played at 4:30 p.m. to allow the Boerne players and coaches to get to the Alamodome to cheer on the football team as it won in the Class 4A Division I playoffs to advance to play for the state championship. This is another example of how teams learn so much more about themselves after a loss. I do believe this setback will help the Lady Mustangs as they travel to play at Gatesville Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
  3. The Burnet High School girls basketball team (9-4) took care of Canyon Lake 48-39 using the same formula as the Lady Mustangs: allowing its best player to distribute the ball to set up her teammates and committing to playing lock-down defense. The Lady Dawgs look every bit the two-time defending district champions with balanced scoring, patience on offense and determination to keep opponents from reaching 40 points. While most know of junior MaeSyn Gay, who made herself available for outlet passes and pushed the ball on the fastbreak, one player who shouldn’t be overlooked is junior center Zaria Solis. Solis is tall enough with long arms to force opponents to gameplan for her. She will force shooters to adjust and think twice about driving into the paint. Solis was impressive on the defensive end and will be in the conversation for defensive player of the year.
  4. Can’t say much about the Burnet Bulldogs because they haven’t played at home since Nov. 22. Still, the Bulldogs beat Bastrop Cedar Creek 75-64 Dec. 9 and will play their eighth consecutive road game when they travel 20 minutes east to Liberty Hill Dec. 12 for a 6:30 p.m. tip-off. They are scheduled to host Pflugerville Connally at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16.
  5. One note about District 24-4A, which Burnet and Marble Falls are members — the boys and girls will play on the same site throughout district play. That’s great for fans, who can now support entire programs without having to choose.
  6. Though the Faith Academy boys basketball team lost to Yavneh Academy 54-42 Dec. 10, the Flames gained plenty. It was a bonding trip for them as they participated in activities with the host school the day before the contest and cheered on Burnet graduate Luke Kiser, who is now a sophomore guard for the University of Texas at Dallas. Kiser was named the American Southwest Conference’s freshman of the year in 2021-22. It was a trip head coach Zakk Revelle believed would help his team grow closer and increase their faith, and those outcomes aren’t reflected on the scoreboard.
  7. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames hosted their own tournament Dec. 9-10 where they beat Austin Regents 37-22 a day after losing to Fredericksburg Heritage 27-25. Faith was able to close out Regents in a contest it led virtually from the start where it scored 16 points in the second quarter for a 21-6 advantage at the half. A day earlier, the Lady Flames led Heritage throughout the contest until the very end when the visitors found a way to squeak out a two-point win. Faith is still learning how to close out opponents, and that’s not easy at all.
  8. The Llano boys basketball team bounced back from a loss to Brownwood 71-50 Dec. 8 for a 66-61 win against Dublin Dec. 9. The best part is the Yellow Jackets had more players suited up for the contest because of the end of the football season. The Jackets are showing why they’ll be a force during district play this season.
  9. The Lady Jackets lost to a tough Abilene Cooper team (12-5) 68-22. Cooper was once part of the largest classification in the state and has since dropped to the second largest. Games like these will help the Lady Jackets as they continue to prepare for the start of district play, which is in early January.
  10. All-district football lists have been released, and few will be surprised by the picks representing Burnet, Llano and Marble Falls. As expected the district champion Yellow Jackets dominated in the superlative awards and the Bulldogs and Mustangs did well, too. Llano senior running back Carson Kuykendall was named the district Most Valuable Player, while junior quarterback Briggs Green was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player and senior lineman Jaxon Rhea was the co-Defensive Most Valuable Player. I’ll have more on the impressive showings by all three teams later in the week.

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Llano senior running back Carson Kuykendall, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards, is the District 13-3A Division I Most Valuable Player. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

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