Both squads moved the ball well in the opening two quarters with the score 12-7 in Calipatria's favor early in the second quarter. The Hornets (13-6 overall, 1-0 Desert League) used a 10-6 run in the final six minutes to earn their halftime edge, but Imperial (9-9, 0-1 DL) kept just a little bit of the pace thanks to four points each by Rhea Deal, Jennifer Stewart and Jocelyn Taylor.
The third quarter was different.
As the opening in-bound pass of the second half was thrown in one could see Calipatria spring into action. The Hornets' were stifling defensively and took it to the rack on offense.
Perez hit a bucket inside and Rachel Zajdel hit a short jumper as the Hornets went ahead 29-13 a minute into the quarter. Perez stepped outside and bombed a trey for a 32-13 lead and Maria Velarde hit two free throws to push the lead to 21 with four minutes left. Imperial's Alexa Olstowski tried to keep her squad in it with a couple steals and three of her six rebounds, but Calipatria would not quit.
After an offensive put-back by Perez, Cuevas nailed a three, Jackie Suarez dumped in a lay-up and Cuevas hit another trey for a 41-13 advantage with 35 seconds left. The Tigers' final offensive attempt of the period failed and the Hornets moved the ball upcourt and, after a missed shot, Natasha Jackson grabbed an offensive rebound and put in a short jumper for a 43-13 lead.
The Tigers won the fourth quarter 11-7 behind seven more points by Deal, who finished with 11 points to lead her team, but Calipatria's huge third quarter did all the damage necessary.
"We just came out nervous and we never settled down into our offense," Imperial coach Rich Ponchione said. "We knew coming in it would be tough because Calipatria plays a tough man-to man defense. I credit their team. They came in here fired up and they took it to us."
The Tigers will be back in action at 7 p.m. Tuesday when they travel to Blythe to face Palo Verde. Calipatria plays at the same time and date, hosting DL-rival Holtville.
Calexico 48, Central 31
CALEXICO — The Calexico High girls basketball team remained ahead of the Imperial Valley League pack with a 48-31 win over Central Union here Friday.
Leading the Bulldogs were Melissa Williams with 13 points and Mayra Carboni with 12 points. Melissa Noriega added six points for Calexico.
Both teams return to the floor at 7 p.m. Friday with the Bulldogs (3-0 IVL) traveling to take on Brawley Union and the Spartans hosting Southwest.