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Marble Falls girls basketball enjoys relaxing summer

CAPTION: Kylie Roberts (right) will be counted on to give quality minutes during the 2023-24 basketball season. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Marble Falls High School girls basketball program didn’t play in a summer league in 2023.

Head coach John Berkman noted the many reasons why.

The biggest, he said, is because he felt his players needed the break based on the grueling summer of 2022 and the 2022-23 season. The Lady Mustangs won the District 24-4A championship and two playoff contests.

“There is validity to that, I am a believer in that,” he said. “If you do something too much, you get burned out. I think the sports society doesn’t take that into account. Not every athlete is built that way. We get groups of kids who want to go. But if you push them too much, they’ll walk away. How much do we demand they’re here? Or give them that ability to step away and be a kid? They needed to step away to reflect, refresh and rest their bodies.”

During the 2022-23 season, the Lady Mustangs played in some incredible pre-district tournaments in December: the Battle of the Bay in Corpus Christi and the Mansfield Spring Creek Barbecue Invitational Tournament after hosting their own tournament in November. The tournaments drew top teams in the region and state and have squads that are ranked in polls by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Association.

In addition, Marble Falls has the distinction of playing three of four Class 4A state-tournament teams — Boerne High, Glen Rose and state champion Waco La Vega — that also illustrates the grueling schedule the Lady Mustangs faced. They also played Stephenville, which was a team ranked in the top five. The contests against Boerne High, Glen Rose and Stephenville were played before the start of district play, making the Marble Falls schedule of the toughest, if not the toughest, in Class 4A.

Part of the reason why Berkman created the schedule he did was because the 2022-23 team featured seven seniors who had been playing together since the fifth grade. He understood their goals — to win — and ensured they were well prepared for the district and postseason campaigns.

Once the offseason began in March, Berkman noted he and the staff put the players through some solid work that included weight room sessions and drills to enhance agility, explosiveness and quickness.

Berkman, who just completed his seventh season at the helm, knows his athletes very well and could sense their fatigue. The goal, he added, is for them to start the 2023-24 season rejuvenated, re-energized and refocused to defend the district title they worked hard to earn.

“We have two months before we start our full season,” he said. “It’s OK if you step away. They appreciate that. If you foster that coach-player-trust relationship, you get more than if you don’t foster that relationship. We have to be ready to go. We look forward to that challenge.”

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