Off balance shot

Mikayla Molina leaps off one leg for a shot in front of a Beeville forward.

After taking a 10-day mandatory quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure, the Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Lady Pirate basketball team (#22) held practice for the first time Monday, Feb. 1 since playing their last game together Thursday, Jan. 21.

Because of the district certification deadline, RFHS would have to play four district games in one week. They defeated Ingleside 51-30 Tuesday, Feb. 2 and defeated Beeville (#23) 64-45 Wednesday, Feb. 3. They played Sinton Friday, Feb. 5 and West Oso Saturday, Feb. 6.

With second place Beeville’s only district loss of the season, 10-1, coming from RFHS, RFHS played Beeville for the district championship Wednesday, Feb. 3.

The Lady Pirates put on an impressive shooting performance against Beeville, putting the Lady Trojans at one point in the third quarter down 30 points. RFHS Head Girls Basketball Coach Morgan Hale said she could not have asked the girls to shoot any better than they did against a state ranked opponent.

“We shot the ball so well tonight, but that’s just a testament to the girls being in the gym and getting shots up when nobody’s looking,” said Hale. “And it’s always good to have home court advantage against good teams like Beeville.”

Because the team was unable to meet with each other the week prior, Hale said she continued to check in with her players to make sure they were doing well mentally.

“We did different things throughout the week to stay unified and make sure that most importantly we were mentally healthy. We were still focused on basketball, we didn’t lose sight of what was going on and our goals,” said Hale.

Getting only one day of practice on Monday, Feb. 1, Hale said the girls came back and were as determined as ever.

“They came and ‘showed up’ at practice ready to go,” said Hale.

While there were signs of rust in their game against Ingleside, RFHS quickly put to bed any signs of rust the next day against Beeville.

While Beeville struggled to get a shot off in the first quarter, the Lady Pirates put up 18 points. Jordan Malone and Mikayla Molina each hit two 3-point field goals (FG) in the first quarter alone.

Early in the second quarter, Malone hit two more 3-point FG’s and finished with 14 points at the half. Kaylee Howell also played an excellent second quarter, going 3-4 from the line and even added a 3-point FG to the Lady Pirates total of seven baskets from long range in the first half. RFHS left Beeville stunned, and finished the half leading 39-13.

In the second half, Beeville hit a few more shots after RFHS established a 30-point lead with three minutes left in the third quarter. Nonetheless, Beeville could not contain Howell in the second half.

Howell added a total of 14 more points. She went 10-11 from the free throw line as Beeville resorted to fouling in an effort to slow her down.

RFHS ran away from Beeville 64-45 and won its first district championship since 2011.

Hale was on the 2011 team as a player. She returned to RFHS 10 years later to win it this time as head coach.

Hale said she talked briefly with her team following their win over Beeville and said they all know, “this is just the beginning.”

“They’re pumped, they’re excited, but the first thing out of their mouths was, ‘This is just the beginning. We’re just getting started.’ And that’s huge for us because as special and as big as this is, they’re focused. That, as a coach, makes me most proud,” said Hale.

They formally celebrated their district championship Friday, Feb. 5 following their game against Sinton.

RFHS’ win over Beeville puts their winning streak at 17 games, along with a 10-0 district record with two district games remaining.

Against Beeville, Howell led RFHS in scoring with 26 points.

Malone followed with 18 points and Molina scored 12 points.

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