LOS BANOS Long bus rides can take a toll, but Friday's 2 1/2-hour trip down the foothills and across the valley seemed to bring out the best in the Sonora High School girls' basketball team.
The Wildcats (14-6, 8-0) clamped down defensively and routed Los Banos 62-30, protecting their Valley Oak League lead going into the biggest week of the regular season. Sonora entertains second-place Sierra of Manteca (17-6, 8-1) tomorrow at Bud Castle Gym, and visits third-place Manteca (16-5, 5-3) on Thursday. Both tipoffs are set for 7:15 p.m.
Sonora coach Charmon Logan was impressed by her team's effort and focus against co-last-place Los Banos (8-15, 1-8), especially compared with the Wildcats' lackluster performance the previous Tuesday in a 46-29 victory over the VOL's other cellar dweller, Buhach Colony of Atwater (6-15, 1-8).
"We were a different team, intensity wise, than we were Tuesday," Logan said. "Our defense was really impressive, especially in the first and third quarters. We were really stingy."
Sonora held the Tigers to four points in each of those periods on the way to building leads of 16-4, 28-12, and 50-16 at the quarter breaks, and the Wildcats went on to equal their highest point total of the season.
Forward-center Jessica Peterson scored 15 points for the high total of the game, guard Haley Hohengarten put in 11 points, and center Nichole Horvath tallied 10.
Bears falter at Calaveras
Summerville dropped its third straight game 55-43 to Calaveras in San Andreas.
The Bears (10-7, 2-4 Mother Lode League), who trailed 26-25 at halftime, couldn't keep pace in the third quarter when the second-place Redskins (15-7, 5-1) blew the game open with an 18-7 advantage.
"It was totally different than the first time we played them," said Bears' coach Darcy Wingo.
Summerville limped through its MLL opener in a 57-36 loss to Calaveras on Jan. 17.