Brawley claims share of IVL crown

February 16, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

It's been the Brawley Union High School girls basketball team's bread and butter all year and the pressing defense was ultimately what gave the Wildcats a share of their fourth consecutive Imperial Valley League title.

Brawley pounded Southwest High 73-43 in El Centro on Thursday to nail down a tie for the IVL title with Calexico High. Both finished with 5-1 league records.

With star defender Marquita Travis heading the smothering man-to-man and zone press defenses, Brawley took the Eagles (2-4 IVL) out of their game plan just enough to shut down their offense.

"Our press caused some problems for them and coming into this game we knew it would," said Wildcat coach Mike Pacheco. "We switched between the man and the zone with Marquita in the middle of it to shut them down. And that worked pretty well."


Leading the Brawley offense again was Lisa LeBaron with 29 points, four shy of her career high. Travis chipped in 12 points to go with eight rebounds and Kaylin Rubin added nine points, eight rebounds and three steals for the Wildcats.

Knowing the importance of the game and what had to be done to claim a share of the IVL title, LeBaron said the Wildcats were ready to play from the get-go.

"We knew we had to beat them if we wanted to be co-champions," said LeBaron, who finished with 10 rebounds and three steals. "We were really ready for this game and I think in the end we were just more prepared."

Brawley didn't seem to be too prepared at the beginning as the Eagles jumped to a 4-0 lead.

A quick time-out by Pacheco, a few adjustments and the Wildcats returned to the court on a mission to shred Southwest. The mission was accomplished as Brawley ended the quarter on a 27-7 scoring assault led by LeBaron's 15 points.

The Wildcats showed no mercy in the second quarter, outscoring the home team 16-6 to take a 26-point lead into the break.

If it wasn't evident the game was over Brawley ripped off nine straight points to open the second half.

Down 52-17 less than three minutes into the third, the Southwest offense started rolling. The Eagles from that point outscored Brawley 26-21 up to the final buzzer. Leading the offense for Southwest were Caroline Dessert and Yadira Aguirre, each scoring 10 points.

Said Eagle coach Ruben Valenzuela: "This game is exactly how our season went. And this season was like a roller coaster ride.

"Their press did take us out of our game slightly because they were really quick to the ball and they attacked. It was a tough loss, but hopefully we'll be able to play another game in this season."

Both teams will find out their playoff futures Saturday.

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