Del Oro girls can't hang with Sacramento High
STOCKTON – Del Oro head coach Mike Takayama was cool and calm and joking around with his team.
Not that he was aloof, but like he said, he wanted his players to “play like they had been there before.”
And for the first 15 minutes of the game, they did.
But that was about all the top-seeded Sacramento High girls basketball team would give Del Oro in a 52-31 win over the Golden Eagles in the Sac-Joaquin Section girls Div. II semifinals at the Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton on Thursday.
“I am proud of our girls. We came out and our defense was really good in the first half,” Takayama said. “We really limited their shot and had it at our pace.”
Despite shooting just 17.9 percent (5 of 28) from the floor in the first half, Del Oro (19-10) trailed by just five at 20-15 with 29.5 seconds left in the first half. Lauren Heyn had seven rebounds in the first half and battled underneath against a bigger, taller and stronger player in Sac High’s Ayanna Edwards.
“There is no doubt. In this type of game, we really had to be on top at halftime because we played that well,” Takayama said. “In the second half, you know they are going to break out at some point in time because they are just that good of a basketball team.”
But along with Chaya Durr (16 points), Aliceah Hernandez (10) and Allie Green (15) the Dragons (26-4) came out of the half with a 14-3 run with the same defensive intensity Del Oro had in the first half.
But the difference was Sac High was able to convert shots and capitalize on the 18 second-half turnovers by the Golden Eagles.
“We didn’t handle the basketball very well in the second half,”
Takayama said. “They were able to get some breakouts and get some easy basket opportunities.”
After trailing by as many as 19 in the third quarter, Mia Maglinte nailed a 3-pointers for Del Oro early in the fourth to cut the Dragons lead to 40-28. But again, the Dragons broke away late while going on another run. Sac scored 12 consecutive points before Megan Baird converted a 3-pointer for Del Oro in the final seconds of the game.
“Overall I thought we tried really hard and we gained a lot of experience in this game and hopefully take it forward to NorCals,”
Heyn led Del Oro with seven points and 11 rebounds. Also scoring for Del Oro were Maglinte (6), Brianna Ruiz (5), Stephanie Geyer (4) and Libby Runte (3).
Sac High advances to the finals on Saturday at Sleep Train Arena seeking the program’s first D-II title after winning the past two at D-III.
And despite being knocked out of the section playoffs, Del Oro now awaits their opponent with an announcement on Sunday when the NorCal regional brackets are released.
“There is no doubt, the season isn’t over for us,” Takayama said. “We have one more life left now. I feel like a cat with nine lives right now. But we got one more left and we are going to try and make the most of it.”