Photo by Gerald Castillo

High School Girls Basketball: Saenz helped mentor young Lady Rattler roster

ISHMAEL JOHNSON
Sports Editor

There came a point during the season when Mackenzie Saenz knew that her senior year would likely be the first time she missed the playoffs in high school.

San Marcos’ only senior had experienced the Lady Rattlers’ 30-win season her sophomore year and last year, she helped earn their second consecutive playoff appearance as one of the leading scorers. This year was a different story, however being apart of a unit with multiple first-year varsity players including seven freshmen and sophomores.

“I knew what was going on and just to help them out and lead them for next season,” Saenz said. “All of them are good ball players and we were just young barely winning and that’s okay. They should be ready for next season for sure.”

During Friday night’s 57-35 loss to Austin Anderson, the senior closed her final home game in a Lady Rattler jersey with 10 points with freshman center Grace Latham scoring a team-high 12. Saenz knew that this season was about the future of San Marcos basketball. Next year the Lady Rattlers look to return to their playoff form.

“It was tough for her, I know it was,” head coach Veronda Kendall said. “She’s been with that group of upperclassmen and now she had to step up into the role as a leader and the only senior leader. That was tough. She was on the court with a lot of young ones and I know that sometimes that she had to pick up a lot of slack. You just have to be patient.

“She really invested in her game. It’s evident in her skill set. “She’s carried us, part of the team for the last two years. It’s tough for her not to go (to the playoffs) her senior year. This will be her first year she hasn’t gone.”

Just before halftime, the senior guard helped hammer the Trojan lead down to just eight with a 3-pointer and a bucket on the other end. The Lady Rattlers (8-27, 0-8 in District 14-6A) came out patient in the half court to start the second half before Anderson’s Caitlyn Latson pulled the Trojans ahead late. Latson’s 17 points, including nine in the second half, to push the Trojans lead to an insurmountable margin.

“A lot of times we don’t play our pace and we get caught up in trying to play fast,” Kendall said. “That usually, for us often times ends up resulting in turnovers. I think the kids have gotten a little focused on making sure we break presses and come down and execute a set in half court.”

San Marcos has its final game of the season Tuesday night on the road against Austin Bowie.

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