By the time the proverbial lid was removed from the basket on Canyon’s end of the floor Friday night, it appeared as though it was too late for a comeback to materialize.
The Cougarettes (11-7, 0-2) entered the fourth quarter with just 15 points on the scoreboard, and despite an 18-point outburst down the stretch, San Marcos (17-4, 1-1) held on to record a 44-33 victory in District 26-6A play.
Canyon refused to quit and received a spark from the defensive end thanks to guards Emery Black and Alanis Colon Perez, who frustrated the Lady Rattlers’ backcourt in the fourth quarter and began to create key takeaways.
The Cougarettes also got their first taste of rhythm on offense when Chanler McFarland used a putback to ignite a 13-4 run to open the period. Kirstyn Drum added two free throws, Black tallied a layup and Chayse Goetz posted four quick points during the surge, which was capped by a 3-pointer on the wing from Colon Perez.
Moments later, Drum tallied a layup that pulled Canyon within 10 at 40-30, but there simply wasn’t enough time left to complete the comeback bid. McFarland fouled out with less than two minutes to go and the Lady Rattlers sank enough free throws to fend off the Cougarettes’ rally.
San Marcos’ ability to get to the foul line ended up being the difference, as the visitors connected on 16 of their 24 attempts from the charity stripe. Canyon was 7 of 11 from the free-throw line in the defeat.
The Cougarettes were unable to get comfortable against the Lady Rattlers’ pressure defense for each of the first three quarters. Canyon struggled mightily on its long-distance shots and ended the opening stanza down 13-3 after McFarland banked in a 3-pointer.
That deficit grew to 15 points by halftime and 20 at the end of the third period. However, the Cougarettes continued to scratch and claw for every loose ball and nearly made enough hustle plays to fight back into contention.
Kirsten Zaruba led her team with nine points in the setback, while McFarland finished with eight. Goetz and Drum added five and four points, respectively.
Head coach Zeb Burleson’s team will now have some time off before returning to the court on Friday, Dec. 27 to take part in the Boerne ISD Tournament. Canyon’s next district game is set for Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 when the rival Lady Unicorns invade the Cougar Den for a 7 p.m. battle.