Apparently, not even the flu can slow down Lake Travis.
Despite having a nasty bug rip through their locker room and sideline five players, the short-handed Cavs rolled past Bowie 49-32 Jan. 14 at Bowie High School. Lake Travis coach Kevin Bussinger pulled up four players from the junior varsity to give him nine players for the game, and all saw action as the Cavs (19-8, 9-0 District 25-6A) remained perfect in district play.
“I’ve never seen something happen like this, having half the varsity go down,” said Bussinger, the Cavs’ third-year coach who has more than two decades of experience. “But there’s a lot of talent in our program. We practice against them (the JV players) all the time, and we know how good they are. Sometimes, going against them is tougher than what we have to face on a Tuesday or Friday night. We knew they’d come out here and play hard.”
They had too, especially after senior guard Kaylie Marchiorlatti left the game with an apparent shoulder injury early in the third quarter. The Cavs had a 28-17 lead at that point, but strong play from the varsity fill-ins - including sophomores Jade Kirkpatrick, Anna Heikes and Riley Neises as well as freshman Reagan Hassenfratz - helped them close the quarter with a 39-23 lead.
“I was worried at first, but we have a deep bench,” said Lake Travis senior Jackie Cillers, a three-year letterwinner. “No matter who we put out there, they’re going to work their butt off, and it’s going to be OK. I know it’s nerve-racking, but they just had to stay focused. That’s what I told them, just not pay attention to anything else and just go and play.”
Fortunately for Bussinger and the Cavs, only one starter - senior Sydney Wilson - missed the contest. Raeven Boswell (14 points), Cilliers (11 points, six rebounds) and Mia Galbraith (11 points) delivered typical numbers as the Cavs’ top three scorers, but defense carried their Cavs to their first win at Bowie in three seasons.
Powered by a pressing defense that didn’t back off despite the absences, Lake Travis forced 20 turnovers and held Bowie to 21% shooting from the floor. The Bulldogs didn’t make a single three-pointer on 15 shots from behind the arc.
“We didn’t change much,” Bussinger said. “We roll the ball out there and let ‘em play. Sometimes, coaches get in the way too much, We just try and stay out of their way.”
Zeta Jenkins had a strong game for Bowie with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and point guard Sasha Sunga scored a team-high 12 points. Bowie (14-11, 6-3) is now tied with Austin HIgh for third place in District 25-6A, a game behind Westlake.