"I was proud of how our girls played that first half. We have some really young girls out there and they played well in the first two quarters. But I guess now we just have to get back to basics," said Ponchione.
Imperial held two leads in the first quarter, 6-3 and 10-8, before the Wildcats tied the game at 10-10.
After the first quarter everything was pretty much downhill for the Tigers as they were held to six points in the second stanza. Brawley scored 11 in the frame, led by Whitney Williams with six, and took a 21-16 lead into the break.
After a Jenny Bowlan short jumper 13 seconds into the third, Imperial was held to two points over the final 15 minutes, 47 seconds. Those two came courtesy of Melissa Gaston, who finished with six. Bowlan led the Tigers with eight points.
The Wildcats outscored Imperial 9-4 in the third quarter and 14-0 in the fourth.
"Our kids picked up the defense in the second half. We came out slow in the first half, but that's what we've been doing all year," said Brawley coach Mike Pacheco. "In the second half we came out with a lot more intensity and just played really well."
Leading the Brawley offense were Williams with nine points and Reggie Horta with a game-high 12 points.
Said Horta: "I think we just settled down and calmed down more in the third and fourth. We started passing better and moved the ball really well. Defensively, everyone was where they were supposed to be and we ended up playing pretty good."
Both teams will be back in tournament action today with Imperial taking on Central Union at 3 and Brawley playing Yuma at 7:30 tonight.
In earlier tournament action, Central downed Yuma 45-44 led by Janiece Manuel with 19 points and Stephanie Schuler with 13.
Calexico got past Holtville 46-37 led by Lizeth Lopez with 19 points. Karla Salazar added nine points for Calexico.
Mykell Johnston led Holtville with 10 points and Claudia Lopez chipped in eight.
Southwest lost its tournament opener 58-41 to Palm Desert.
Leading Southwest were Monnett De La Torre with nine points, Jessica Conway with eight points and seven rebounds and Tasha Ernest with nine rebounds.
Southwest will take on Holtville at 4:30 today and Calexico will play Palm Desert at 6 tonight.
Capistrano Valley 79, Vincent 68
LA JOLLA — Despite a 40-point, 10-rebound night from Dominic Jacobelli, the Vincent Memorial High boys basketball team lost its third straight game of the year 79-68 to Capistrano Valley Christian in La Jolla Country Day tournament action here Thursday.
Matt Lankford turned in nine points, seven assists and five steals and Josh Martin chipped in eight rebounds and six points for the Scots (0-3).
Vincent will play Army/Navy at 8 tonight.
La Jolla Country Day 76, Imperial 30
LA JOLLA — The Imperial High School boys basketball team lost 76-30 in the La Jolla Country Day tournament here Thursday.
Tyler Jensen led the Tigers (1-3) with 10 points and three rebounds. Brenden Lopez added eight points.
Imperial will be back in action at the tournament at 2:45 today against St. Margaret's of San Juan Capistrano.
Calipatria 62, Lone Pine 21
LA JOLLA — The Calipatria High School boys basketball team beat Lone Pine 62-21 in the La Jolla Country Day tournament here Thursday.
Vontray Taylor led the Hornets (3-0) with 19 points. Jorge Navarro added 11.
Calipatria returns to action in the tournament at 6 tonight against La Jolla Country Day.
San Bernardino Valley 78, IVC 52
RIVERSIDE — The Imperial Valley College men's basketball team fell to San Bernardino Valley 78-52 in the first round of the Riverside tournament here Thursday.
Michael Jayne led the Arabs (3-7) with 13 points. Ian McKalthen added 12 and Glen Ellis had 10 for IVC.
The Arabs continue play in the tournament today.