Emory Brandon puts a move on a Taylor Lady Duck in Hondo’s opening game win during the Crockett Tournament.

Owls go 5-1 in Austin tournament


By Jeff Berger

Anvil Herald Publisher


     Austin -- After 23 quarters of solid basketball – which produced five wins and a third-quarter lead in the sixth game – the Hondo girls’ basketball team ran out of gas.

     The Owls went 5-1 over the weekend in the Lady Cougar Classic hosted by Crockett High School on Nov. 21-23. Strong defense carried them throughout, as Hondo held each of its first five opponents to 34 points or fewer.

     Then in the Owls’ final game on Saturday, Lampasas exploded in the fourth quarter, turning a one-point deficit after three quarters into a 60-35 runaway.

     Hondo coach Bailey Catalani preferred to focus on the first 5.75 games. “I’m so proud of this team and how much progress they made this weekend,” she said. “I’m excited to see what this group of girls can accomplish this season.”

     In Thursday’s opener, the Owls fell behind Taylor early, but turned an 8-1 deficit into an eight-point halftime lead, before beating the Lady Ducks, 43-23. Hondo turned it up in the second period when Taylor Neuman connected on three straight three-pointers in a 90-second span. She finished with 13 points, with seven each from Jaclyn Leyva and Aracely Saldivar.

     Facing 5A Bastrop Cedar Creek in Thursday’s second game, the Owls raced to a quick 16-0 lead, before the Lady Eagles figured out that they could get physical, and very little would be called. They rallied to close the gap to ten points at halftime, and pulled as close as 30-26 midway through the third period. But after a key three-pointer by Justine Rodriguez, Hondo then turned up the defense, allowing just two points over the last 12 minutes in a 42-28 Hondo win. Emory Brandon led Hondo with nine points, with six each from Saldivar and Abby Neuman.

     In an even lower-scoring contest on Friday morning, the Owls trailed 5A Crockett 21-18 at the end of three quarters. Hondo had the hot hand down the stretch however, outgunning the Lady Cougars, 16-2 in the fourth for a 34-23 win. Taylor Neuman led the team with 10 points, with eight from Leyva and six from Saldivar.

     Hondo started fast Thursday afternoon, and hit 10-of-13 free throw attempts in a 45-34 win over 5A Austin McCallum. The Owls never trailed, grabbing a 15-7 lead after one period, and keeping the margin around 10 for the rest of the game. Leyva led all scorers with 14 points, with eight from Saldivar, six from Brandon and five from Cassidy Reus.

     The Owls’ most impressive win of the weekend came in a Saturday morning 37-34 decision over Austin St. Michael’s. Like the Owls, the Crusaders entered play on Saturday with a 4-0 mark. St. Michael’s looked they might make quick work of Hondo, hitting three three-pointers in the first two minutes and building a 10-2 lead. Hondo buckled down on defense, stayed within seven at halftime, and had cut the deficit to 28-26 at the end of three.  Key buckets down the stretch from Emma Neuman, Taylor Neuman and Reus – who all finished with seven points – and strong defense all over the court, carried the Owls past St. Michael’s. The Crusaders hit six threes in the game, but none after the opening seconds of the third period. Leyva led the Owls with eight points.

With a chance to complete an undefeated run through the tourney Saturday afternoon, the Owls led Lampasas after one period 16-8, but the Lady Badgers steadily closed the gap to within a point at 34-33 at the end of three. That’s when the Owls’ gas tank hit ‘E’. Lampasas opened the fourth with a run of 13 and finished with a run of 14, with only a single Hondo free throw in between, to record a 60-35 win over the Owls. Lampasas scored ten of its points – on fast breaks and three-pointers – in the game’s final minute, after the Owls had emptied the bench. Reus and Taylor Neuman both scored eight, with six from Emma Neuman and five from both Leyva and Saldivar. 

Over the course of the Owls’ final three games, the team shot 

 from the line (73%).

     Lampasas, St. Michael’s and Hondo all finished with 5-1 records. Hondo placed third, because of point differentials. 

Leyva and Taylor Neuman earned all-tournament recognition for Hondo.


Cassidy Reus runs the Owls’ fast-break against Bastrop Cedar Creek in the Crockett tourney.

Hondo holds off Winn in fourth quarter


By Jeff Berger

Anvil Herald Publisher


     Hondo turned back a late rally from the Eagle Pass Winn Lady Mavericks Monday afternoon, Nov. 25, in the HHS new gym, to preserve a 40-37 non-district win.

     Tuesday morning, the Owls traveled to Marion and came home with a 39-29 win over the Lady Bulldogs to wrap up play before the Thanksgiving break.

     The Owls are now 8-3 on the season.

     After the break, Hondo will host Lytle on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 6:15, before hosting the 39th Hondo Invitational Tournament next Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 5-7.

     Hondo led for almost the entire first half, before Winn tied it at 18 heading to the break.

     In the third period, a flurry from the Owls put the team ahead 30-21. To that, the Lady Mavericks answered with a 13-0 run to go up 34-30 with 4:45 left.

     After several empty possessions in a row, Hondo broke its eight-minute drought on a three-pointer from Cassidy Reus with 2:15 left. A three from Taylor Neuman with a minute to play rattled in to give the Owls a 36-34 lead.

     Neuman moved the Owls back ahead by three, at 38-35, hitting two free throws with 26 seconds left. After Winn had scored on a follow shot at 0:08, getting back within a point, Abby Neuman was fouled, and hit both with 2.6 ticks left on the clock. A last-ditch Winn three-point try bounced off the rim, and the Owls escaped with a 40-37 win, Hondo’s first home-court victory of the season.

Aracely Saldivar led the Owls with 10 points. Taylor Neuman, Abby Neuman and Jamie Zinsmeyer all had five points in the Owls’ win.

Tuesday at Marion, the Owls built a 23-11 halftime lead, and maintained a double-digit advantage for most of the second half on the way to the 39-29 win. Saldivar, Abby Neuman and Emory Brandon led the Owls offensively, with eight, seven and six points.