MAC beats LBJ to reach 10-0 in district play

Varsity girls basketball team overcomes an overconfident start to secure victory in final three minutes of play


Amira Habib Weymouth

AIMING HIGH: Junior Sam Shreves shoots the ball in the game against LBJ. “We did not play to our fullest potential the whole game,” Shreves said. “But when we did stick to the game plan we were able to go on runs that lead to the win.” The team never goes into the game expecting a win, Shreves started off nervous, but the nerves soon wore off. “The highlight of the game was the last few minutes when we had a run,” Shreves said. “Leading to steals and breakaway layups.” Caption by Elena Ulack. Photo by Amira Habib Weymouth.

Ingrid Smith and Lillian Gray

Lillian Gray, Mac photojournalism

Last Tuesday night’s rivalry game against LBJ started off like any other close matchup. Each team matched the other’s energy, and they kept a close pace with each other for most of the game. Junior Esme Barraz felt the team might have come out a little bit too strong, but in the end it worked out.

In the second or third quarter, we gave LBJ too much room. There were parts of the game where we let them take control, but in the end we were able to execute.

— junior Esme Barraz

“I would say we came out strong in the first quarter full of energy,” Barraz said. “Then, in the second or third quarter, we gave LBJ too much room. There were parts of the game where we let them take control, but in the end we were able to execute.” 

After almost four difficult quarters of back-and-forth play, it was still anyone’s game to win. The clock was running out, and both teams wanted the win. That’s when the Knights kicked it up a notch.

“In the fourth quarter, we picked up our energy and execution of the game plan in order to win,” Barraz said.

With six minutes remaining, however, it was LBJ that showed signs of pulling away from the Knights after building a three-point lead. Then, sophomore Emy Chen responded with a three-pointer to tie it at 33-33. Chen, like her teammates, wanted badly to win, so there was no choice but to give it their all at the very end.

“It came down to who wanted it more,” Chen said. “I remember clearly thinking that I was not losing this game.”

With just three minutes left on the clock, the Knights trailed by two points, prompting head coach Carly Kehn to pull her squad together during a timeout to deliver a clear message.

“I told them that I need five out there who want to fight for the win, and anyone else can go to the locker room because the game is far from over,” Kehn said. “We talked about how we just needed a stop and a score to be back in the game. At that moment, the players needed to know and believe that they had the ability to win.”

The team was able to shut down the Jaguars in the last two and a half minutes, with helpful steals from Barraz and sophomore Miranda Digiovanni which led to frequent fast breaks by Chen. The Knights held LBJ to just two points, but scored eight to win the game by a final score of 46-40. The Knights saved their best scoring quarter for the final frame. They scored 16 points in the fourth quarter while yielding only seven to the Jags.

As the team nears the end of its district season and starts to make its way towards the 5A state playoffs, Kehn says it’s all about the little things.

Making the playoffs looks promising, but we aren’t counting our chickens before they hatch. We have six more games left and they aren’t going to come easy.

— coach Carly Kehn

“We have established an identity in how we play, so at this point in the season, it is really about fine-tuning things,” Kehn said. “We need to continue to work on our rebounds and putbacks, keep focusing on our defensive positioning, and get shots up out of the offense.”

Although the odds are looking good for the varsity team to become district champions, Kehn hopes to keep the team focused on the next game, not so much the games a few weeks out.

“Making the playoffs looks promising, but we aren’t counting our chickens before they hatch,” Kehn said. “We have six more games left, and they aren’t going to come easy. We need to keep preparing for one game at a time. We will prepare for playoffs when they come.”

Like Kehn said, the team will take the road to playoffs one step at a time. For now, they remain number one in district, still undefeated with an 13-0 record coming off of wins against LASA on Tuesday and against Eastside earlier tonight.