Guyer girls coach Harold Colson has always hung his hat on his teams’ defense and its propensity to hold opponents to single-digit points per quarter.
That plan was foiled early in Friday’s game against District 5-4A’s top team, and he watched his offense not be of any help as the Lady Wildcats fell to Wichita Falls Rider 52-33.
“I thought we played pretty decent defense in the first half,” Colson said. “What killed us was the missed layup after missed layup and not getting rebounds after their missed shots and letting them get second looks.”
Rider (22-3, 7-0 district), ranked No. 7 in the state by both the Texas Girls Coaches Association and the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, was simply too much for the Lady Wildcats to handle, and it all started with senior guard Taliyah Brooks.
The athletic guard, who is committed to Arkansas, finished with a game-high 25 points — nearly half of her team’s points — helped by a 12-point third quarter that helped extend the Lady Raiders’ 12-point halftime lead to 21 points going into the final eight minutes.
Colson said Brooks was tough to stop because of her athleticism and his team’s inability to make her alter her path to the basket.
“We knew she was tough,” Colson said. “She’s coming off those drives and we weren’t sliding into place very well. We’d reach or slap, and she gets right through that. We were in good position on her, we just weren’t sliding in enough tonight.”
Guyer (15-7, 5-2) had a chance to pull even with the Lady Raiders in the district standings with a win but was never a real threat thanks to its poor shooting, specifically in the first half when the Lady Wildcats shot only 4 for 17 from the field. The Lady Wildcats were led by Tierney Peters, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Wildcats also had trouble breaking Rider’s pressure defense throughout the night. It wasn’t for lack of preparation, necessarily, but just whom Guyer was preparing against.
“We knew we’d get that,” Colson said of the press. “We worked on it all week. It’s just tough though because you practice against it and you’re going against your JV, and then the No. 7 team in the state comes in. It’s just really hard to adjust.”
Even with the loss, Guyer is still in good position with the first half of district play in the books.
The Lady Wildcats now will prepare to face Wichita Falls on Tuesday at home after they fell to the Lady Coyotes 44-41 in the district opener.
“We’re through with the first half of district at 5-2. You can’t be upset about that,” Colson said. “We’ve put ourselves in a good position and just need to maintain that. We lost to Wichita Falls last time. so we need to come back and take care of business at home and [then] be ready for Rider the next time.”
Guyer 66, Wichita Falls Rider 35
From the beginning of Friday’s game against Wichita Falls Rider, the Guyer boys showed they were the superior team, jumping out to a 22-5 lead after the first quarter.
What impressed head coach Grant Long was the way his team pressed on and did not let up in a game that was a blowout from the beginning.
“I was very pleased with our entire team effort,” Long said. “We pushed the ball and did a great job of making just one more pass or looking ahead to a teammate. I was really happy with our togetherness.”
The Wildcats (14-6, 4-1 district) had four players reach double figures, led by 12 points each from Justin Griffin and Dave Dhaliwal, while Sean Choate and Miles Crawford each chipped in 11 points.
After allowing only 13 first-half points, the Wildcats’ defensive effort stayed strong in the third quarter, as they held Rider (5-16, 0-5) scoreless from the field, a stretch that lasted 9 minutes and 16 seconds, spanning three quarters.
“We’re never going to let up,” Long said. “It doesn’t matter who is out there on the floor for us or what team we’re playing. We’re always going to play lockdown defense and push the ball. That’s what we try to do.”
Wichita Falls Rider 52, Guyer 33
WF Rider 15 8 14 15 — 52
Guyer 9 2 5 17 — 33
Wichita Falls Rider (22-3, 7-0) — Ashley Reid 7, Skye Catletti 2, Kendall Chamberlain 6, Erin Henderson 6, Taylor Caswell 2, Taliyah Brooks 25, Mercedes Brooks 1, Abreanna Harrison 3.
Guyer (15-7, 5-2) — Madison Franklin 2, Quamese Moss 9, Ola Akinniyi 2, Tierney Peters 13, Bre Wickware 7.
Guyer 66, Wichita Falls Rider 35
WF Rider 5 8 2 20 — 35
Guyer 22 18 13 13 — 66
Wichita Falls Rider (5-16, 0-5) — Ty Branch 1, Maxwell Portmann 2, T.J. Vasher 7, Cody Taylor 2, Michael Tull 8, Stephen Barrett 12, Chris Stevenson 3.
Guyer (14-6, 4-1) — Sean Choate 11, Shelton Childress 1, Miles Crawford 11, Mitchell Willard 7, Sam Perry 3, Zack Duncan 8, Dave Dhaliwal 12, Justin Griffin 12, Xavier Brown 1.