The Lady Deer basketball team got back on the winning side of the ledger with a 56-40 win at home over Santa Fe on Thursday in non-district action. The team returns to 22-6A play when Deer Park hosts Sam Rayburn Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Watkins Gym.
The Lady Deer basketball team utilized its young talent as well as constant rotation to defeat Santa Fe 56-40 Thursday at Watkins Gym.
The first quarter started off slow for both teams, but quickly picked up for the Lady Deer once starting freshman guard Enriqua Bellow got hot. Bellow used her speed and athleticism to give the Lady Deer an edge by taking the ball away while on defense and converting those change of possessions into points off of fast breaks.
“I just focus on what i got to do and get the job done when Coach tells me to do something. It’s tough being a freshman and competing with older girls, it’s hard work and you have to want it. It feels good to be able to start as a freshman and contribute to my team,” said Bellow, whose 19 points and 11 rebounds led all scorers.
However, missed opportunities on offense by Deer Park allowed for Santa Fe to remain close going into the second quarter.
The second quarter saw the Lady Deer continue to struggle a little on offense, and the Santa Fe Indians took advantage of this to turn the game in their favor. Head Coach Theresa White saw this and adjusted her team accordingly, utilizing a full court press that she would continue to use throughout the game to put pressure on Santa Fe and create turnovers. The Lady Deer a one-point lead for the last couple of minutes of the quarter, until Santa Fe stole the ball away and took it the other way for a layup that barely beat the buzzer for halftime.
The third quarter opened up with Deer Park coming out guns blazing and going on a 6-0 run. Santa Fe managed to answer with points of their own but the fatigue of only having 6 players was starting to set in. Coach White continued to utilize her rotation and used it as an advantage over her much smaller numbered opponent. The Lady Deer bench came out big, adding points as well as fresh legs that helped keep their defense strong.
Senior wing Brianna Romero, one of the players being rotated in from the bench, acknowledges how the constant cycle of players helps her team. “It feels pretty good to be able to go in and help the team in any way I can. I’m mostly a defensive player but being able to score today was an added bonus. I think the way we constantly change players kind of makes the other team work harder, since we’re all different and have different strengths. It makes us more dangerous since we are not just a one dimensional team,” Romero said.
The fourth quarter saw the Lady Deer impose more of their will since Santa Fe was running out of steam. The constant pressure from Deer Park’s full-court press continued to wear down on Santa Fe, and as the Indians grew more tired they started to turn the ball over more. Deer Park utilized these change of possessions and converted them into points off of fast breaks until the clock began to wind down.
The Lady Deer began taking longer offensive possessions once there was only a few minutes remaining, and managed to hold Santa Fe defensively. This combination allowed for Deer Park to control the last half of the final quarter, and secure the victory.
Mkayla Bush had eight points while Jacky Aragon and Shaila George had seven points each.
Next up for the Lady Deer is a return to district play as the team is scheduled to host Sam Rayburn Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Watkins Gym.