By LYNETTE HAALAND, ZACH SMITH, Four Points News
The Vandegrift girls varsity basketball team beat Cypress Ranch 58-47 on Tuesday in the bi-district playoff round, and was scheduled to play Klein Collins in the area round at A&M Consolidated HS in College Station at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21.
The Klein Collins Tigers, from Spring located north of Houston, are 13-3 in district while the Lady Vipers are 8-8.
Jonathan Jones, head girls basketball coach, is ready for the challenge as his program made school history after the win vs Cypress Ranch on Feb. 18 at Brenham HS.
“This was an exciting win! We were able to handle a run by Cy Ranch at the beginning of the game and then settled in in the 2nd quarter and played really well for the rest of the game,” Jones said.
He noted that the team executed its offensive and defensive game plan perfectly against Cypress Ranch, located northwest of Houston.
“We are definitely playing some of our best basketball of the year right now,” Jones said.
Leading scorers were: Brooke Srncik, sophomore, with 15 points, Kaya Pehrson, junior, with 14 and Skye O’Rourke, sophomore, with 13.
Jones pointed out an interesting stat that the team scored 20 points from 2 pointers, 18 points from 3 pointers, and 20 points from the free throw line. “We were very balanced in that aspect,” he said. “They played so great and I’m so proud of them.”
Prior to Tuesday’s game, Vandegrift and Cedar Ridge claimed the final two playoff spots from District 13-6A after winning play-in games on Feb. 14 at Vista Ridge.
The Vipers held off a late charge from McNeil to beat the Mavs 40-37 in the first game of the Valentine’s doubleheader, while the Raiders jumped out to an early lead and pulled away late to down Westwood 59-36.
O’Rourke led Vandegrift with 19 points, and Pehrson finished with eight points in last week’s game..
“They did a good job staying on us and mixing it up with the zone,” Jones said. “It bothered us. But we did a good enough job at the end. We’ve been talking about mental toughness all year.”
After a back-and-forth game in the first half, Vandegrift and McNeil slowed things down in the second half. The Mavs started the second half with four straight points, and the Vipers had two points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter.
McNeil took its first lead of the game with just over two minutes to go, outscoring Vandegrift 20-8 over the first 10 minutes of the second half.
But O’Rourke forced a turnover and finished a layup to give the Vipers the lead with a minute left, and the team went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line down the stretch to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the fourth time in school history.
“Towards the beginning of the second half, they went to a zone, and we rushed some shots,” Pehrson said. “Once we slowed down and started to play our game a little bit and played our game more, it was beneficial to us.”
After a strong start to the season, Vandegrift hit a rough patch during the middle part of the district schedule, losing seven of nine games. But the Vipers rebounded with three straight wins to end the regular season followed by the Feb. 14 play-in win to enter the playoffs on a high note.
This week’s Feb. 18 game marks program history.
“This was the 1st playoff win for our program in eight years, and with this win, this team set the school record for wins in a season with 24,” Jones said. “We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to add to that number on Friday!”