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Burnet girls basketball wins district opener against Marble Falls

CAPTION: Burnet junior center Zaria Solis hits a jumper, two of her game-high 19 points, to lead the Lady Dawgs to a win against Marble Falls in the District 24-4A opener. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

The Burnet High School girls basketball team beat Marble Falls 43-29 Jan. 6 on the Lady Mustangs’ home court, Max Copeland Gym.

The win moves the Lady Dawgs (15-5) to 1-0 in District 24-4A, while the Lady Mustangs (13-12) fall to 0-1.

“We’ve always played Marble Falls in non-district, and they’ve gotten the better of the series since I’ve been at Burnet,” head coach Rick Gates said. “We’re thrilled to death to get this win. I think we’re a confident bunch because of the success we’ve had the last few years.”

Marble Falls led 5-3 thanks to field goals by senior post Lilly Nesrsta and senior guard Alyssa Berkman.

But Burnet closed out the first period on a 6-2 run led by sophomore point guard Sydney Lough’s long jumper for a 9-7 advantage.

The two teams played to a 12-12 tie early in the second period thanks to Burnet junior post Zaria Solis and senior guard Grace Gates and Marble Falls senior guard Mackenzie Farmer with 6 minutes and 38 seconds remaining in the half.

But that’s as close as the Lady Mustangs would get because of Burnet junior MaeSyn Gay and Solis. Gay often drove to the basket to draw the defense then passed the ball to Solis, who hit high percentage shots near the basket. If Solis wasn’t blocked out, she grabbed the offensive rebounds and scored.

That’s what happened to break the 12-12 tie. Gay drove, was fouled, hit the front end of the free throw, and Solis rebounded the miss and passed to Gay. Gay rewarded her teammate by driving and dumping to her for the bucket and a 15-12 lead.

That triggered a 9-0 run that was only broken when Berkman hit a 30-foot shot at the horn to trim the deficit to 24-15 at the half.

Marble Falls cut the deficit to 24-19 behind Berkman’s bucket and Farmer’s jumper, but Gay and Zolis got the buckets back immediately. And though Berkman hit a free throw to cut into the lead at 28-20, the Lady Dawgs held the Lady Mustangs scoreless the remaining 3:50 of the third period and built an insurmountable 35-20 advantage going into the final stanza.

Burnet and Marble Falls matched other in scoring in the fourth period.

Solis finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds to lead all scorers followed by Gay’s 8 points and 10 rebounds, and Lough added 8 points.

“We’ve been working for a week to put in our game plan,” Gates said. “I feel like, for the most part, we executed our game plan. Our rebounding was really good. The girls knew we could come here and get the win if we drove and got the ball to Zaria. I can’t say enough — I’ve never had a team take the game plan and execute it on the floor with this knowledge and expertise. I couldn’t be happier.”

Berkman led Marble Falls with 12 points followed by Farmer and senior guard Tea Rodriguez with 5 each.

Marble Falls head coach John Berkman said this game came down to one factor.

“We got every shot we wanted — we just didn’t make them,” he said. “They made shots and we didn’t. We had wide-open shots. We missed lay-ups, 3-pointers and free throws.”

He noted the Lady Mustangs were limited to one shot per possession that helped the Lady Dawgs start their transition. If Marble Falls makes one more basket per quarter and more free throws (the Lady Mustangs were 5 of 14), then it’s a single-digit contest.

Tuesday against Brownwood, we made those shots,” Berkman said. “We still have seven more district games, and we get to play them in a couple of weeks.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, the Lady Dawgs travel to face Lampasas, while the Lady Mustangs are at Jarrell. The subvarsities play at 5 p.m. and varsities take the court at 6;30 p.m.

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