Poor shooting hurts ‘Cats in first-round loss

February 22, 2001|By TOM RONCO, Special to this newspaper

BRAWLEY — Failing to convert free throws in the fourth quarter and generally not shooting well, the Brawley Union High girls basketball team fell to the visiting La Jolla High Vikings 52-47 here Wednesday night in a San Diego Section CIF Division II first-round basketball game.

"We knew they would be tough," said Viking coach Nancy Moyer. "I told the girls we were coming to their home, their community and they didn't want to lose."

The Wildcats (14-10, 5-1) and seeded 10th hosted the seventh-seeded Vikings (17-9, 6-5) who traveled to Brawley because the Wildcats were the Imperial Valley League co-champion while La Jolla finished third in the Western League.

"The scouting report we had on them was accurate," said Brawley coach Mike Pacheco. "They were tall, used a 1-3-1 zone defense and they were a little quicker than we thought."


"We should have been ready," Pacheco continued. "But we missed some easy shots and our free throws were horrible."

The Vikings matched the Wildcats with 13 points in a seesaw first quarter. With both teams utilizing full-court pressure, the action was fast and furious and included 16 turnovers.

The Vikings seized the momentum as Brawley was outscored 9-6 in the second quarter and 18-8 in the third.

"We came out and tried to trap them but Brawley was able to break that," said Moyer. "So we changed in the second and third quarters to a man defense that seemed to work better."

Said Pacheco: "I think we got a little tired in the second half of the second quarter and that affected both our offense and defense."

Brawley made a defensive adjustment midway through the third period that slowed the Viking outside attack, which had accounted for five three-pointers, four by Jennifer Kaiser, a six-foot point guard who had a game-high 17 points.

"We decided to switch to a man defense," said Pacheco. "We wanted to take away their three-point looks and their big girl wasn't hurting us from the post."

Trailing 40-27 opening the fourth quarter, Brawley rallied when Sylvia Mendez hustled for an offensive rebound and found Reggie Horta, who buried a three-pointer, the Wildcat's first of the game.

Next Marquita Travis stole the ball and was fouled as she drove for a lay-up. Typical of Brawley's problems this night, Travis missed both free throws.

"I made the steal because I just wanted to give us something to go for, to get us back into the flow," said Travis.

Lisa LeBaron, who led the Wildcats with 14 points, was fouled going to the hoop and converted the first of six consecutive fourth quarter free throws to bring Brawley to within eight.

The Vikings matched the Wildcats point for point and with 1:28 to go led 52-40 after an intentional foul.

Brawley's Brooke Pace was fouled on a three-point attempt and calmly sank all three free throws to cut the lead to nine.

LeBaron then added two more free throws to make it 52-45, and following La Jolla's third consecutive turnover, Pace hit another free throw to get the Wildcats to within six points.

Brawley had a chance to inch closer but missed its last three shots and three of four free throws.

"I saw them coming back and it bothered me but somehow I knew we would be OK," said Moyer. "Give them credit because they played hard the whole game."

Pacheco agreed, "We gave a great effort out there. We never quit."

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles