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Girls basketball: Bulldogs breeze past Eagles

January 24, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

All it took the Calexico High School girls basketball team was a 15-0 run in the first and second quarters to decide the outcome against Southwest High in El Centro on Tuesday.

The offensive assault was enough to put the Bulldogs in the driver's seat in a 51-39 Imperial Valley League victory.

The teams entered the contest tied for first place in the IVL with 1-0 records but the Calexico victory gives it a one-game lead over Southwest and idle Brawley Union (both 1-1).

The sides appeared before the game to match up evenly, but as soon as they hit the court the Bulldogs were stronger, hustled more and, when it counted most, played better than the Eagles.

Calexico outrebounded Southwest 38-31, but the deciding factor was steals. The Bulldogs finished with 19 steals to the Eagles three, which meant more transition points for Calexico. Seven Bulldog players finished with at least one theft.

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Getting the whole team involved is exactly what Calexico coach Jamie Chew pointed to as the difference.

"It was an entire team effort. It wasn't just one player that did it for us," said Chew.

Chew's team found itself in some trouble early, letting Southwest's shooters control the tempo initially. But that was short-lived as the Bulldog defense started forcing turnovers, creating openings on the offensive end.

Through about a 6-minute stretch between the first and second quarters 10 Southwest turnovers turned into a 15-0 Calexico barrage. Leading the Bulldog onslaught was Lizeth Lopez, who scored eight of the team's 15 points.

Looking at a 23-9 deficit, the Eagles responded with a 9-4 spurt to cut the gap to 27-18 heading into the half.

As the Bulldogs continued to spread the shots, Southwest only had one player score in the third as Ericka Antunez nailed three three-pointers. Antunez led all scorers with 21 points (six treys).

Southwest seemed rejuvenated in the opening minutes of the fourth as a 7-3 burst cut the difference to eight. But that's as close the Eagles would get as more turnovers led to a Bulldog 9-0 binge. Lopez again led the spurt with six points.

Lopez finished with a team-high 20 points to go with two rebounds, two steals and a block.

Also contributing heavily for Calexico was Christina Ramirez with 13 points, seven steals and four rebounds.

Said Southwest coach Ruben Valenzuela: "We really didn't hit the boards tonight. We were shooting for 40 (rebounds as a team), but came up short. We started to close on them, but when we really needed rebounds we just couldn't get them.

"I think overall, it was the little things that made the difference."

Both teams play at 7 p.m. Friday, with Calexico (12-6 overall) hosting Central Union and the Eagles (7-15) playing their alumni game.

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