Marble Falls basketball falls to Rouse

By Nathan Hendrix
Sports Editor

The Marble Falls basketball teams slipped further down the district rankings with losses against the Rouse Raiders on Tuesday night.

Lady Mustangs

The Lady Mustangs (8-17, 2-6 in district) slipped to fifth place in the district after their 53-45 loss on the road. Raiders offensive rebounds prevented Marble Falls from keeping the game within reach in the fourth quarter.

Head coach John Berkman said the rebounding woes were persistent through the game, but the fourth quarter is where the Mustangs really felt the effects.

“If we had been better rebounding the whole game, we could've limited their scoring opportunities and had a favorable margin going into the fourth,” he said. “If you don't take care of those things early, they tend to hang around and get you in the end.”

Despite the trouble on the glass, the Marble Falls offense kept the game competitive through three quarters. The Lady Mustangs held a 24-23 lead at halftime, and the game was knotted at 34 heading into the final quarter.

In the fourth, the Raiders outscored Marble Falls 19-11 to claim another pivotal district win. Berkman said the Lady Mustangs are still in a good place, but they need to win out to put themselves in the best possible position for playoffs.

“We're still in it, for sure,” he said. “All three of [our remaining games] are winnable games for us.”

Mustangs

The Mustangs (15-12, 3-5 in district) lived by the free throw and died by the free throw on Tuesday in a 58-52 loss to Rouse at home.

Marble Falls played an aggressive offensive game to counter the Raiders' aggressive defense and found themselves rewarded with free throws throughout the game. The Mustangs shot 36 free throws in the entire game and were 14-for-16 in the first half.

However, the free throws stopped falling in the second half – only nine makes on 20 attempts – and the Mustangs failed to consistently find another way to score.

“We were doing things right, but we were having empty possessions,” head coach Matt Bailey said. “

The game was close from start to finish aside from a Mustangs' misstep in the third quarter that left them unable to close the gap in the fourth.

“[The Raiders] never got too far ahead, ” Bailey said. “They just kept a five-to-eight-point cushion, and we were never able to get it to a one-possession game.”

Despite the offensive woes, Bailey said the defense played well against a versatile Rouse offense.

“They spread the ball out, and you can see that in their scoring,” he said. “Against a team like that, you have to guard all five players. Our guys closed out well and challenged three-point shooters.”

The Raiders had three players score in double-digits, and five players registered at least seven points. Senior Joshua Mosley led the Mustangs in scoring with 18 points.

The game was reminiscent of the previous game with the Raiders on Dec. 14 in Leander. That game, too, was close for the entire match and resulted in a loss for the Mustangs.

Both Marble Falls teams have a bye date on Friday before facing off with Pflugerville Connally on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The girls will host the Cougars, and the boys will travel to Pflugerville.

Bailey said he wishes the bye week was a game earlier, but the team will use it to rest and get back to 100 percent.

“We only have eight guys on varsity right now,” he said. “We have four starters that log a ton of minutes. Some of our guys have some nagging injuries. I don't think it will be bad for us.”

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