Under pressure, Golden Eagles fall at St. Francis

Del Oro girls struggle against full-court press
By: By Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
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SACRAMENTO — Pressured hard by a full-court defense by St. Francis, the Del Oro girls basketball team lost its first game of the season to the Troubadours, 54-46, in Sacramento Tuesday night.
“Hopefully we learned a lot tonight,” Golden Eagles head coach Mike Takayama said. “I don’t know how many, some 30-plus turnovers tonight, but their defense was swarming and we really didn’t handle it well
tonight, but we will work on it.”
Del Oro (3-1) was held to just eight points in the first quarter, but senior forward Stephanie Geyer led a second-quarter charge with 10 of her 12 first- half points in the frame to get the Eagles within one at 31-30 at intermission. Geyer finished with a game-high 16 points.
But much like the first quarter, the full-court press kept the Golden Eagles (3-1) from getting across half court routinely, limiting Del Oro to just four points in the third quarter and the Golden Eagles were never able to get within fewer than six points in the fourth quarter.
“We just weren’t prepared. But we will be ready for it next time,” Geyer said. “You can’t walk away from these games just upset. You have to learn from it and take what you can.”
One bright spot for Del Oro was the ability to score, much like the first three games of the season, inside the paint. Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, those chances came few and far between.
“I am getting good passes,” Geyer said. “My guards are dropping dimes all the time.”
But when a team cannot get the ball across half court on three consecutive possessions, like in the third quarter, it is tough for any team to compete.
“I know we will be ready the next time we face a press,” Geyer said. “We need to talk more on defense and be under control and staying calm. We are just getting used to each other. We are a pretty young
team. And I am excited the next time someone tries to press us because we are going to be a lot better.”
Takayama is also hopeful that a loss like this coming against a hard defense is best served early in December during a non-league game rather than a Sierra Foothill matchup in January or February.
“Tonight it was more getting a shot, not necessarily discriminatory whether it was a three or a two. But hopefully in time we can execute,” he said.
Natalie Sohn added six points and Libby Runte chipped in with five for Del Oro. Najah Queenland led St. Francis with 15 points.
And in unexpected news, Brianna Ruiz was on the court before the game and during halftime shooting layups and running drills. And despite previously thinking the University of Washington commit was not going to play this season, she was feeling a little bit of an itch to compete after the loss.
“I am working really hard to come back,” Ruiz said. “I want to come back as soon as I can, but I don’t want to rush it.”