This may be a new-look Lone Star girls basketball team, but don’t count the Lady Rangers out from being a legitimate district title contender just yet.
After splitting its first two district outings of the year, Lone Star proved it is not going anywhere with an impressive 49-33 victory over previously unbeaten-in-district Centennial Tuesday night.
First-year head coach Todd Monsey and his crew utilized a stifling defensive strategy with 22 forced turnovers and a strong second half to tame the Lady Titans and improve to 2-1 in district play.
“We respect Centennial tremendously and we knew we were going to have to play our best to win,” he said. “I liked our consistent intensity on defense, and I felt like we never let up. Our subs were able to come in and give us great energy, so we were able to play at a great pace that we maintained for the course of the game.”
Over the past few seasons, Lone Star had the luxury of featuring two of the top players to ever come out of Frisco ISD in Mallory Adams and Adryana Quezada, who are both thriving at the next level.
Despite not quite having an MVP-caliber scorer at the moment like Quezada or Adams, this program still contains a plethora of talent and a handful of players that can lead the team in scoring any given night.
“Tonight, we really shared the ball and celebrated each other’s successes,” Monsey said. “We were focused on a team working together and not just one star. When we move the ball it becomes difficult for people to guard you, and we wanted to make sure each possession everyone was touching the ball.”
Perhaps a young star in the making is sophomore Kyla Deck, younger sister of former Lady Ranger Mia Deck, as she paved the way with 16 points in the win.
The bulk of her scoring output came in the third quarter where Lone Star outscored the Lady Titans, 18-4, as the Lady Rangers raced out to a commanding 37-19 lead heading into the fourth.
Up by just four points at 19-15 coming out of the locker rooms, Lone Star’s leading scorer through the first two district meetings, senior point guard McKenna Long, came out firing after being held scoreless in the first half.
The Mary Hardin-Baylor signee opened up the third with a 5-0 run of her own by splashing in a 3-pointer and then followed that up with a difficult floater in traffic, as her squad never looked back from that point on.
“They did a really great job on [Long] in the first half, but we knew eventually we would get her a good look,” Monsey said. “She doesn’t need much room, so she was able to get a couple of shots knocked down. That’s what leadership is, and she is the ultimate team player.”
Prior to Tuesday night, Centennial had been red-hot with back-to-back blowout victories over Independence and Lebanon Trail to kick off the district slate.
The Lady Titans had also sported a quality non-district campaign with a handful of lopsided triumphs under their belt with a few close losses to top-notch programs such as Argyle and Richardson sprinkled in.
However, Centennial had yet to experience a loss like this through the first 15 games of the season and hopes to bounce back Friday against Frisco. Meanwhile, Lone Star looks to keep the ball rolling at home against Wakeland.