With a new face on the sidelines, the Cedar Park girls’ basketball team didn’t skip a beat.
In Jessica Smith’s first game as head coach after the sudden resignation of longtime coach Mark Myers, the Lady Timberwolves beat Vandegrift 54-41 Tuesday night in the first game of the Double Team Cancer Night to continue their blazing start to the regular season.
“We started off good and then we kind of picked it up,” Smith said. “We ran through more plays in the second half and we were able dos core more through them. We did a better job on defense.”
Cedar Park’s boys’ varsity team opened up the season by leading from start to finish in its 75-52 win against Hays in the second game of the doubleheader.
The Statesman reported earlier Tuesday that Myers had stepped down as both head coach and teacher, citing stress. He said before this season started that it would be his last. Since taking over as head coach at Cedar Park, he amassed over 800 career wins.
In the girls’ game to start the night, the teams each dominated one of the first two quarters. Cedar Park held a 15-4 lead after the first period, but Vandegrift scored the same amount in the second quarter and the teams went into the break tied at tied at 19 apiece.
“We were dealing with a little nerves at first because it’s a great rivalry,” Vandegrift head coach Jonathan Jones said. “We fought back in the second quarter. I was pleased with how we played then. They never let us get comfortable in the second half.”
The Timberwolves poured it on in the third quarter, outscoring the Vipers 13-6 and continued to roll in the fourth with a 22-16 margin to pull away for their eighth straight win.
Madison Byrne and Loren Goddard led the way with 15 points each for the Vipers. Kallie Roush chipped in with six points, Natalie Goddard had three points and Autumn Howell shoed two points.
Both Cedar Park and Vandegrift hit the road to take part in the Mable Falls tournament this weekend.
“We’ve played some good teams this year and we’ve competed against all of them,” Jones said. “We’re just trying to get better because we have a good mix of experience and youth. Our goal is to make the playoffs. We’ve got a little bit to go to get there, but I have confidence we can.”
The boys’ team started the game on a 10-0 run and didn’t look back, outscoring Hays 21-5 in the first quarter. The Rebels fought back in the second quarter, cutting the gap to 41-28 at halftime.
The Timberwolves outscored the Rebels 34-24 in the second half to open the season with a win over Hays for the second straight season.
Cedar Park has just two games before the district season begins. It travels to face Copperas Cove Friday at 6 p.m. before hosting Round Rock Westwood next Tuesday at 1 p.m. The Timberwolves open district play Dec. 9 on the road against East View.
“We’re at home and we put up 75 points, that means we’re doing something right,” Cedar Park head coach Blake Brown said. “I liked the attitude of the team, we played very unselfishly.
“Every year we’re pretty simple. Making the playoffs and going to the state tournament will take care of itself as long as we stay focused on getting better every day.”
The teams sold t-shirts and had a silent auction featuring University of Texas women’s basketball tickets, gift certificates and other gift from local business. All the mont raised went directly to dace team coach Stacy Danielson, who is battling cancer.
Danielson was on hand for the game and did an honorary tip-off before the boys’ game began.
“It’s important because it’s a tough deal when you’re stricken with that disease,” Brown said. “As much support as you have, you’re probably going to feel lonely and we never want anybody in our Timberwolves’ family to feel like that.”