Lady Mustangs fight for 4th

Lady Mustang Yahdi Lujan steals the ball and zips away to score in a recent game. Photo by Noah Gilkey.

The Lady Mustangs beat Jourdanton and Poteet last week and are now sitting in 4th with a 6-4 district record and 8-17 overall. They have turned their season around and have a great shot at playoffs. They are sharing 4th place with the Squaws so their last few games against Cotulla, Poth, Dilley, West Campos, and Karnes City will have to count. This season they have already beaten Cotulla, Dilley, and West. Poth is tied with Lytle in first and Karnes City is sitting in second.
Tuesday night in Jourdanton, the Lady Mustangs knew they would have to work hard. Winning the tip off but missing their first shot, the Lady Mustangs quickly caught up with the Squaws first basket. Two minutes into the game it was still tied 2-2 with Tina Fulton at the free throw line. Making both her shots, Natalia was undeterred but the S. Down 8-4, Coach Steven Spangler Called a time out and on the next play Kylee Spangler went up for a jumper under the basket was fouled while shooting. Making her second free-throw, the Lady Mustangs forced Jourdanton into a bad pass under the Squaw basket. Running their offense against a zone defense, Jourdanton continued to foul and sent Spangler back to the line. At the three-minute mark, Spangler was trapped and looking for a pass when she saw Yahdi Lujan open. Dribbling around the Squaws, she drove in for a lay-up and brought the Lady Mustangs with in 3. The game would remain 10-7 for the last three minutes.
Jourdanton broke the scoreless streak in the second with a lay-up. With Coach Spangler pacing the bench, he shouted encouragement to his team along with plays. Under the Squaw basket, Christina Fulton ripped the ball from the Squaws and moved it down the court. After a missed three, Jelli Padilla sank a free-throw. Bad passes by both teams and a scramble in the paint, Fulton came up with the ball and was fouled shooting. Making both of her free-throws, Natalia quickly stole the ball back and moved it down court. A Squaw drove to the basket and crashed into Fulton, the referee called it a block, which Coach Spangler questioned him. The next time Jourdanton tried to power through a block, by Spangler, it was correctly called a charge. A long pass to Spangler to Addison Crowther, who turned and sank a three-pointer which ended the quarter 15-20.
Now playing in front of their bench, Lujan was passed the ball in the paint which she scored with while being fouled. Down 17-26, Fulton found her spot and sank another three. Natalia scored again when Lujan made a three-pointer and brought the score to 23-26. A jumper from Spangler put Natalia on an 8-point streak over Jourdanton. From far behind the three-point line, Spangler continued the momentum with another three and put Natalia up 28-26. Two more points came from a jumper from Lujan. Out shooting Jourdanton 15-8, Natalia ended the quarter up 30-22.
Jourdanton would score first to tie up the game 30-30 in the final quarter. Natalia would not score until into the fourth minute when Bella Martinez sank a three-pointer to take the 33-30 lead. A few plays later, Martinez again sank a three from the other side of the paint. A wild lay -up from Fulton put Natalia up 8 points. Jourdanton’s full court press did not help them stop Fulton from driving in for another bucket. Under two minutes left, Jourdanton sank two quick three-pointers and they were within four of Natalia. Some great ball handling from Spangler found Lujan open under the basket for basket. Jourdanton started to get more aggressive and knocked Spangler to the ground. Next to the free-throw line was Fulton to shoot 1-1. Making both of her baskets, Natalia was now up 44-38 with 32 seconds left. Coach Spangler had to call a full time out when the athletic trainer had to help Lujan after she hurt her leg after being knocked down. Jourdanton was unable to score in the last 20 seconds and fell to the Lady Mustangs 45-38.
Stats: Fulton 13 points, 7 rebounds, 7 steals. Lujan 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals. Spangler 9 points, 11 rebounds, 2 charges, 5 steals. Martinez 9 points, 2 steals. Padilla 2 points, 5 rebounds.
Friday at home, the Lady Mustangs beat Poteet 45-18. This big win was the second time Natalia beat Poteet in district and set Poteet back to 1-7 in district. Natalia beat the Aggies each quarter at 17-4, 10-2, 12-8, and 6-4. This domination will motivate the Lady Aggies when they face Lytle on January 18th.
Stats: Spangler 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals. Fulton 12 points. Lujan 7 points, 4 steals. Crowther 4 points, 6 rebounds. Padilla 3 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals. Duenes 1 point.
Friday night the Lady Mustangs will host Cotulla and then play in Poth on January 25th.
By Dicy Chambers
Sports Writer