The Miles Bulldogs welcomed the Ozona Lions to the court on January 18th. The varsity girls and varsity boys both dealt with the respective Lions teams quickly and efficiently, sending the boys and girls teams home with losses.
The Miles boys’ varsity team improved to 13-7 overall and in fourth place in district with a 1-2 district record as they defeated Ozona by a score of 47-37.
The key component of the Miles Bulldogs boys’ team is that they play grinding, gritty, tough basketball. They are not afraid of contact and their brand of basketball is very physical.
Let’s start with Kuail Kraatz who is a beast in the paint. He blocks out opponents and brings down almost as many offensive rebounds as he does defensive ones. Once he’s posted up it is darn near impossible to get him to budge. Kraatz is a force in that lineup and opponents have to game plan around him. The 6’2”, 180 lbs senior power forward took the roar out of the Lions with his performance. While he only scored 5 points, he did pull in a game high 10 rebounds, had 1 assist and 1 steal. Kraatz also had 1 block and 4 deflections. Defenders have to put a couple of bodies on him to slow him down and keep him off the boards.
Davian Martinez put a game-high 16 points on the board, which was 34% of the team’s points. He dropped 3 three-pointers on 3-10 shooting behind the arc, 1 two-pointer on 1 of 6 shooting and tossed in 5 of 8 free throws. Martinez pulled down 5 rebounds, made 2 assists and 1 steal. Martinez, the point guard, plays fast when he’s bringing the ball down the court. He wastes no time moving the ball and sets the offense quickly.
The Bulldogs game is built on execution, speed and contact. The entire team is bold and plays harder than any team in their division. They have multiple weapons and every player on the team is a shooter. Senior guard Tanner Gilbert dropped in 11 points on 4 of 8 shooting. He was 1 of 3 on three-pointers, 3 of 6 on two-pointers, 2 of 6 on free throws, brought down 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Martinez and Gilbert were the only 2 Bulldogs to drop in three pointers. Martinez shot 30% on treys and Gilbert hit 50%, respectively. Martinez and Gilbert scored 57% of the team’s points. Gilbert added 1 block and 4 deflections.
Senior guard Mason Bryan put up 7 points on 2 of 5 shooting and was 0-1 behind the arc. He also dropped in 3 of 6 free throws. On the defensive side, he had 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists.
The Bulldogs have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with this season. They lost to Eldorado in a heartbreaker by a score of 63-62 a on January 15th. They beat Irion County 72-67, knocked off Water Valley by a score of 68-17 and beat Eden 61-58. None of their wins have come easy and none of their losses were easy on their opponents. They push the pace of the game and drive to contact. Their ball movement is quick and determined. They don’t make soft passes or play loosely with the ball. Their Achilles heel is free throws. Collectively they were 15 of 33 on free throws against Ozona for an anemic 45% completion.
Miles Lady Dogs take a bite out of Ozona Lions
The Lady Dogs are a high-flying act on the court. They play the game fast and pressure other teams into mistakes. They defeated Ozona by a score of 32-19. Ozona never led during the game and could not slow the Lady Dogs offense.
Junior point guard Skyler Brooks, who is also the team captain, directs the play as she brings the ball down the court. If she gets half of a step on an opponent she’s going to the basket. Brooks is capable of executing some jaw-dropping no-look passes when she kicks the ball out after driving inside to draw in defenders. As former Duke basketball great Jay Bilas says, “You’re never more open than when you catch the ball,” and that rings true when defenders collapse in on Brooks and she kicks it out to an open player. Brooks is also capable of leaping higher than most of her opponents. She goes up and catches some air to make lay ups time and again. It is almost an exercise in futility for one player trying to guard her.
Freshman Allie Kalina has come on strong and is already drawing attention. She’s got skill and can shoot from beyond the arc. She’s fearless when it comes to shooting and will put up shots anytime she is open. Kalina is great a creating space to get an open shot.
Junior Tycie Lange is quick and moves through even the smallest gaps in defenses seemingly with ease. Lange can lead charges but her game is also more cerebral. Her moves are calculated and she knows who the ball needs to go to when she can’t get to the basket.
An up and coming star is freshman center Regan Smithwick. She’s already earning her stripes on the varsity team. While she’s still a little green she’s learning more with every game and makes steady improvement. Her skill will soon match her height and size and she’ll be a one-woman wrecking crew for opponents. The bar is set high for her and she’ll become a solid player who will be the deciding influence in many games when she gets to her junior and senior year in high school.
The girls’ basketball team has a 6-12 record but they’re starting to get things together and smoothing out the rough edges. With a handful of games left in the season that have the chance to finish out with 50/50 record if they can continue to improve and build on their strengths. Their defense is solid and their offense is high-octane. Once it all comes together the girls are going to be almost unbeatable.