CAPTION: Former San Antonio Spurs standout Bruce Bowen (standing) is the head coach of TMI Episcopal in San Antonio and guided his team at the Faith Academy of Marble Falls tournament Dec. 16-17. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
Teams are making their final drives before breaking for the holiday. Some have already started, while others chose to play a couple more times. Even if your favorite team isn’t playing this week, most will take to the court Dec. 28 for either a contest or a tournament. Before we get to those, however, let’s take a look back at the week that just finished.
- Friday, Dec. 16, was great for basketball fans. Thanks to the Faith Academy of Marble Falls boys basketball tournament, two local teams took to the court. We’ll start with the Flames themselves, who earned a 55-34 victory against Bulverde Bracken, an opponent that recently got its players after the Warriors wrapped up their football season. The Flames got off to a slow start and finished strong en route to the win. Unfortunately, some Flames weren’t 100 percent because of sickness leading up to the tournament. That may explain in part the Flames’ 1-2 pool record. Still, head coach Zakk Revelle noted his players got what they needed most — games before taking the rest of the week to enjoy with their families.
- One Flames loss was to TMI Episcopal 76-42, which had perhaps the most well-known coach in the tournament — former San Antonio Spurs small forward Bruce Bowen, who won three NBA titles with the franchise and was named to the NBA’s all-defensive team eight times. Needless to say TMI was a great balance of athleticism and execution, and the heart of the team is defense. Bowen said he got into coaching because he wanted his boys to get the proper teaching of the sport. TMI definitely is getting all of that.
- Another team at the tournament was Smoking For Jesus led by head coach Boo Maxwell, a Burnet High grad. The Eagles are still adjusting to playing opponents that have deeper rosters, more time on the court together, and can make adjustments on the fly. One reason the Eagles were able to play in this tournament is because of their membership in the Texas Association of Independent Athletic Organizations that doesn’t prohibit the opponents their members face. That’s great in the long run. Just like the football team, the Eagles will adjust and be fine.
- My favorite win of the weekend happened at Max Copeland Gym when the boys basketball team fought off a late charge by Comal Davenport. The Mustangs led 43-40 with 1 minute and 40 seconds left and had to play defense for a full minute because the Wolves got three offensive rebounds and took five shots in the possession. But they didn’t score any points. Meanwhile, junior forward Kody Smith finally got the rebound and was fouled. He hit both free throws and then stole the ball and passed to sophomore guard Tidus Willie for the final lay-up of the contest for the 47-40 victory. This win meant a lot because of Davenport’s 49-7 victory over the Marble Falls football team to end the season in early November. The basketball team showed it can play with anyone, and this contest should be a big confidence booster.
- The Lady Mustangs completed the doubleheader when they defeated New Braunfels 60-35 and ensured the seniors and their parents were honored by giving them a win. The Unicorns didn’t quit, not even when the Lady Mustangs led 41-26 at the end of the third quarter thanks to changing how they scored. New Braunfels decided to defend the Lady Mustangs’ long shooters. That forced them to drive and draw the defense then use bound passes to get the ball to the posts. The posts then scored high-percentage shots near the basket. That kept everyone involved on the offensive end. Meanwhile, the Marble Falls defense didn’t allow New Braunfels to score more than four points in the period. Marble Falls is showing the depth and riches of talent on the roster, which should help as they begin District 24-4A play in January. The Lady Mustangs welcome Stephenville at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, then travel to Glen Rose for a 12:30 p.m. tip-off Tuesday, Dec. 20.
- The Burnet boys basketball team returned to The Doghouse for the first time in almost a month and lost to a talented Pflugerville Connally team 61-49 Dec. 16. Still, there’s little reason to believe the Bulldogs don’t have enough to contend for the District 24-4A championship. With five returning starters and a balance of newcomers, these Bulldogs have the offensive prowess and defensive commitment it takes to win a championship.
- The Lady Dawgs had an unexpected cancellation by Valley Mills Dec. 16 when its coach was unable to attend. Burnet travels to Pflugerville Connally at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 19.
- The Llano girls basketball team gutted out a 31-29 overtime win against Lometa Dec. 17. The victory was even more impressive considering two key Lady Jackets were unable to go because of injuries. As a result, the Lady Jackets had to rely on a couple of freshmen and head coach Jay Parker has had to adjust his scheme to give his players the best opportunity for success. It worked out against Lometa. Llano will take a week off before returning to the court Dec. 28 against Lampasas.
- The Llano Yellow Jackets lost to Fredericksburg 56-38 after the Billies took at 20-13 lead after the opening period. But the Jackets adjusted and were outscored by a total of six points the next two quarters. Llano welcomes Gatesville at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19.
- Let’s hand out a game ball. To Marble Falls boys head basketball coach Travis Crain, who got his 50th win as a head coach thanks to the Mustangs’ victory against Davenport. Crain’s commitment to the process is why the Mustangs have ended their 36-game losing streak and have earned some wins this season. That shows his willingness to do the right things and his commitment to the long game.
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