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Nov, 2019

Westlake Dominates Hendrickson In Opener

By: Antonio G. Castillo

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Austin, TX-

Officially, the girls UIL High School season tipped off on Friday night, featuring a State Top 10 match-up between Austin Westlake and Pflugerville Hendrickson. Both teams return plenty of talent from last season's squad and they wasted no time in getting after it.

Hendrickson's junior guard, Zoe Nelson would get a couple of quick buckets in close, then Sarah Malinowski would hit a corner three pointer, putting the Lady Hawks in front 11-3, prompting a timeout from Westlake Head Coach, Katie Hensle.

What would follow after the timeout, was a suffocating defense by the Lady Chaps, as they would not let Hendrickson score another point in the quarter, and ended the first frame on an incredible 16-0 run. A run that featured at least 7 steals (unofficially) by our count, and transition bucket after transition bucket.

Coach Hensle talked about addressing the team during the timeout, "I just told them to take a deep breath, and chill out. Play like themselves, that's really all I said."

Her direction fueled Westlake, as the barrage continued while they separated from the Lady Hawks, using a 17-6 2nd Quarter advantage to essentially cruise the rest of the way. During the 2nd period, senior guard and UT commit, Shay Holle put her skills on display. Inside and out, in transition, in the half-court, from the perimeter, hitting the glass, and defensively, showing why she's a high major talent. Finishing just shy of a double-double with 19 pts and 9 rebs, also logging 5 stls, and earning our Player of the Game. 

Additionally, there was a five minute stretch where teammate Presley Bennett, stepped up and reassured the Lady Chaps that they were going to stay in front, registering 5 straight steals in consecutive possessions, and dishing out 4 assists. While her points column was modest for the game, her impact all over the floor, was game-changing and just as key in Westlake pulling away, 36-17 at the half, and eventually coasting to the 65-39 win.

"I thought  Presley just composed us tonight. At first we were all a bit rattled, but five straight steals, four straight assists, and just sort of took over the game from a presence standpoint, and Shay took over the game from a scoring standpoint," said Hensle.

The second half saw Westlake teammates Bailee Chynoweth and Emily Marquis help add to the scoring punch. Frehsmen Pace Rickard and Peyton Freiermuth played very valuable and productive minutes for the Lady Chaps, adding that perfect blend of youth to the experienced group of upperclassmen, showing that Westlake will have depth.

In the loss, Zoe Nelson paced the Lady Hawks, dropping in 13pts, and sharpshooters Sarah Malinowski and Erika Suarez showed off their range connecting on a couple of treys. With only two seniors in the starting five, Hendrickson is a young team, but you can rest assure that Coach Norma Sierra will have them playing better as they grow together throughout the season.