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Tournament tune-up

By Julie Garcia
Dec. 27, 2013 at 6:27 a.m.
Updated Dec. 28, 2013 at 6:28 a.m.

Cuero's Mary Kate Krueger, center, drives to the basket during the first quarter against St. Joseph during the Lady Flyer Holiday Classic in Victoria.

SATURDAY'S GAMES

9 a.m.: Faith Academy vs. Cuero

10:30 a.m.: Ganado vs. St. Joseph

1:30 p.m.: Consolation: Nixon-Smiley vs. winner of Faith vs. Cuero

4:30 p.m.: Championship: Yoakum vs. winner of Ganado vs. St. Joseph

For varsity basketball players, the week off for the holidays falls during a dangerous part of their season.

District games begin in the first few weeks of January for many Crossroads schools.

To combat the lethargy that the holidays can bring, the St. Joseph girls team hosts the Lady Flyer Holiday Classic a few days after Christmas each year.

"We want to make sure we can get quite a few games in in a short amount of time," said St. Joseph coach Carrie Myers. "Taking that break over the Christmas holidays, we need to get our feet and our wind back."

The Lady Flyers (15-5) didn't seem to miss a step Friday in their first game against Cuero, as they won 66-50.

Having the home-court advantage does help get into the zone, said St. Joseph sophomore Hanna Novosad.

"You hear your music; you come in and feel more energized," Novosad said. "It's your home, so more fans are there. It gets your ready to play the game."

Novosad scored 10 points for the Lady Flyers, including two 3-pointers.

With the basketball season in full swing, tournaments have made a difference in preparing each of the teams for opponents later.

"It helps us get ready for situations that we're going to face in the future district (games)," Novosad said.

Tournaments do more than keep the girls in shape, said Cuero junior Missy Odom, who scored eight points Friday against St. Joseph.

"(Tournaments help) us coming together as a team, us bonding," Odom said. "If we just bring it to the district we're about to play, we don't have to worry about anything."

After Friday's loss to the Lady Flyers, the Lady Gobblers will play Saturday against Faith Academy at 9 a.m.

Odom knows her team will be able to work out Friday's kinks.

"(We need to work on) handling pressure and not giving up and don't frown when the coach yells," Odom said, laughing.

Victoria's other local school in the tournament, Faith Academy, lost its first game against Ganado by six points (47-41).

Faith senior Courtne Grevey was not deterred by the loss but rather encouraged to go further.

"We're going all the way, aiming for a state championship," said Grevey, who scored 14 points and two 3-pointers. "We want to win every game we can, and we're playing the harder teams so we can get there and be prepared."

Playing against a different team every weekend has helped Ganado's younger squad "come out of its shell," said junior Taylor Mirelez.

Mirelez was the leading scorer for the Maidens with 24 points.

A downside to this particular tournament was timing. Many of Ganado's players are either sick or on a family vacation.

"It affected us a lot because some people get tired, and we didn't have them to come in," Mirelez said. "We didn't have as many posts today, and it's not as much motivation on the bench."

Friday's two-time winner was the Yoakum Lady Bulldogs, who played in the first and last game of the day.

Yoakum defeated Nixon-Smiley 65-39 in the early game, which put it in the next round up against Flatonia.

Flatonia won its first game against Corpus Christi John Paul II by two points (31-29) before losing to Yoakum 73-29.

Yoakum's Latrice Brown scored 46 points total Friday.

The junior guard said that it's important to get in every game the team can before district starts. The Lady Bulldogs will face the winner of the St. Joseph vs. Ganado game Saturday.

"We get to see a lot of different teams with different strengths and weaknesses," Myers, the St. Joseph coach, said. "When you're in a tournament, you don't get a lot of time to scout someone, so it teaches them to adjust to different play.

"Overall, it's good for us mentally because it makes us think, adjust quickly and move on in the game."

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