Geyer goes for 22 as Del Oro girls drop AntelopeBy: Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
LOOMIS — Nothing better than a little home-court advantage, especially when it comes as a surprise.
With No. 13 Antelope High upsetting No. 4 seed River City on Tuesday, the Del Oro High girls basketball team got one last home game in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II playoffs Thursday.
“Just what the doctor ordered for us. We were all ready to go down to River City. But Antelope did us a favor and allowed us to get back home again,” Del Oro head coach Mike Takayama said. “We played with a lot of energy here and we had a nice crowd tonight and we didn’t disappoint.”
And that they didn’t.
Led by a 22-point performance by senior Stephanie Geyer, the Golden Eagles beat Antelope 54-40 and advance to the section semifinals next Thursday against top-seed Sacramento High at University of Pacific in Stockton.
Geyer came out on fire early for Del Oro, scoring 18 points as the Golden Eagles went into halftime with a 26-11 lead.
But the addition of University of Washington commit, Brianna Ruiz, was a huge factor for Del Oro.
Playing in just her fifth game this season after having surgery on her right knee, Ruiz’s presence on the court and her abilities from long range opened up looks for the rest of the team.
Del Oro had 15 assists on 17 field goals in the game and made them look easy in the first half.
“It is incredible, I am so happy to have (Ruiz) back,” Geyer said. “I love having her back, she is an incredible teammate.”
Added Takayama of Ruiz: “She stabilizes us and even her presence creates less doubling of (Geyer) because of her outside shooting.”
But trailing by as many as 20 points in the third quarter,
Antelope (19-9) never quit pressing on defense and cut the Del Oro lead to 45-35 with two minutes left in the game. Warren Cameo led Antelope with 20 points and Tyler Ellis had 12, including eight in the fourth quarter.
But with a 10-point fourth quarter by sophomore Lauren Heyn, Del Oro never relinquished a double-digit lead from the 7 minute, 18 second mark of the second quarter on.
Heyn finished with 16 points, 13 points, three steals, two block shots and two assists.
Del Oro’s next opponent, Sac High (25-4) has won 10 consecutive games and does not have a loss against a section opponent this season.
“We just have to come out hard,” Heyn said. “We will be pressed and need to be prepared and play our hardest.”
Takayama, no stranger to the section playoffs as the longtime coach of Del Oro, is excited for what is to come next week and the road that has led the Golden Eagles to the semifinals.
“What a great road it has been for us,” Takayama said. “We have had a bit of an up-and-down year. But at the same time, to be able play in the section semifinals and to go on to the NorCals regardless of what happens, it’s pretty exciting.”
Check back later tonight for a video from the game.