On a squad littered with talent that’s hoping to make yet another deep playoff run, two players stood out fort he Vista Ridge girls basketball team Friday night.
Nikki Cardano-Hillary and Katie McKie combined to score 48 points as the Lady Rangers beat Westlake 53-38. The win keeps them just one game behind Vandegrift, which is still undefeated in district play.
“Some of the other kids are capable scorers, they just didn’t get the opportunity to shoot the ball tonight,” Vista Ridge head coach Keith Allen said. “They will. Tonight, Nikki and Katie were open a lot. I didn’t think Nikki had her best game tonight. She’s played a lot better.”
Cardano-Hillary scored 26 points and McKie added 22, including a trio of 3-pointers. Julie Shalkowski scored three points and Cassie Vaughns was the only other scorer for Vista Ridge with two points.
“I was much happier with our defense,” Allen said. “We were better there than we have been of late and that side of the ball needs to continue to improve. That’s been our main focus in practice.”
The dynamic duo of Cardano-Hillary and McKie started the game hot, scoring all 17 points for the Lady Rangers in the first quarter, helping them get out to a 17-8 lead. Vista Ridge extended its lead to 29-15 at the half.
McKie opened up in the third quarter, hitting two 3-pointers and scoring 12 points in the quarter and the Lady Rangers slowed down the pace in the final quarter for their seventh district win of the season.
It’s been four games since Vista Ridge was upset by Vandegrift, its first district loss since 2014. The Lady Rangers, one year removed from a trip to the state semifinals, is using that loss as motivation going forward.
“We’d love to get that one back, but I feel like we need to get playing at a high playoff level,” Allen said. “It’s going to be a big game when they come here and we’d love to win the district. We kind of put ourselves in a hole as far as that goes. We’re looking bigger picture than that too.”
Vista Ridge hosts Lehman Tuesday at 7 p.m. before vexing across town to take on Leander on Friday night. The Lady Rangers have a rematch with Vandegrift on Feb. 3 before finishing the regular season at Hays on Feb. 7.
“This team is really hungry,” Allen said. “Our theme is to get better every day. We don’t want to hit our stride too early. I still don’t think we’ve played our best basketball yet.”
Taylor 55, Glenn 35
Cedar Park 51, East View 42
Leander 47, Lehman 45
Vandegrift 86, Lake Travis 75
Westlake 91, Vista Ridge 71
HS GIRLS BASKETBALL
Cedar Park 58, East View 56
Vandegrift 58, Lake Travis 37
Vista Ridge 53, Westlake 38
Leander 44, Lehman 39
Taylor 56, Glenn 24