The Union Democrat Sports Department

For the first time, the Sonora Wildcat girls' basketball team took center stage on Friday night during homecoming.

And they put on an outstanding show in front of a packed house at Bud Castle Gym, pounding arch-rival Oakdale 51-18.

"It was one of the most exciting games I've ever played in," said Wildcat senior Bryanna Owens, who scored five points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. "We had the band there and there were so many people. It was so much fun. We were extra nervous before the game. But coach told us to stay calm and enjoy the moment. And I loved it. I wish it could be like that more often."

Traditionally, the Wildcat boys are the centerpiece of the week-long festivities. But the Sonora boys' boss Rick Francis was happy with the way everything played out.

"It was a great crowd - I don't think our girls have played in front of that many people in a long time," said Francis. "We had great student-body support, the band was there - it was rockin' and rollin.' It was great community support. And the girls played really well."

The Wildcats started slow offensively, but not defensively.

Sonora wasn't hitting its shots, but still took a 10-3 lead after the first quarter and maintained that advantage into halftime, 17-10.

"We couldn't get our shots to drop in the first half," said Wildcat head coach Amy Santos. "But I told the girls to keep shooting and in the second half they started dropping."

Sonora essentially put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 15-2 to take a 32-12 lead heading into the final quarter.

Sonora's Bailey Henington almost outscored the entire Oakdale team, tallying 17 points, including two 3-pointers. Henington also dished three assists and grabbed three rebounds.

"Bailey was her usual teriffic self," said Santos, "but we got contributions from everyone and had a real balanced attack."

Also for Sonora (12-5, 4-2 Valley Oak League), Angela Gardella added 13 points and also canned a 3-pointer, Shea Stead scored five points, grabbed four rebounds and dished four assists, Leah Dambacher scored four points and grabbed five boards, Maria Chacon had three points, Stephanie Chung added two and Taylor Beebe scored two points and grabbed five boards.

The Wildcats are enjoying a three-game winning streak and are in third place in the VOL behind Manteca (6-0) and Weston Ranch (5-1).

Sonora will go for its fourth straight win on Wednesday at home against East Union (6-11, 2-4 VOL). Tip-off is at 7:15 p.m.

JV-TheWildcats won 40-29.

"It was a hard-fought game," said Wildcat head coach Nicki Holt. "I was very pleased to see my girls not lose their heads with all the hype, the band, the crowd and the aggressive play. I was happy with our overall team effort."

For Sonora, Sandra Renda scored 13 points, Elyse Quenneville added 11 points, Kailie Fredrickson seven, Hannah Garrett five and Kadi Patterson netted four points.

Frosh-The Cats won 46-21.

For Sonora (3-3 VOL), Michele Ries scored 13 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and made five blocks, Courtney Jarvis scored 14 points, hauled in eight boards and made four steals, Kiama Pisula scored 11 points and had four rebounds, Maggie Fray brought down six rebounds and Sabrina Truong scored six points.

On Wednesday, the Wildcats defeated Kimball 55-37 at Tracy.

For Sonora, Ries recorded another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Jarvis scored 18 points and hauled in 14 rebounds, Fray scored eight points and dished four assists and Truong dished eight assists and grabbed seven boards.