Guy Dossi
The Union Democrat

The Bret Harte Bullfrogs got an early glimpse of what a top team in the Mother Lode League looks like. In the MLL opener, the ’Frogs hosted the one-loss Argonaut Mustangs. By the end of the night, Bret Harte saw what it takes to be a league front runner and how difficult it is to get there.

There was nothing Bret Harte could do to slow down the powerful Mustangs (14-1, 1-0 MLL) and fell 57-20 Tuesday night in Angels Camp.

From the opening tip, Argonaut took control. At the end of the first quarter, the Mustangs had a 13-2 lead. An 8-0 run to start the game put Bret Harte in a hole.

“I would have hoped that we would have played a little bit better,” said Bret Harte head coach Jerry Rucker. “They jumped on us early and it kind of intimidated us a lot at that point in time. We worked on some things defensively and we kind of panicked and forgot what we were supposed to do. Offensively, we had a hard time shooting the ball. We are just going to try to improve for the next time we play them.”

Bret Harte couldn’t slow down Argonaut in the second quarter. The Mustangs scored 12 unanswered to begin the second period. Bret Harte senior Daphne Stanfill ended the run with a free throw and later in the quarter, senior Cali Anderson added another free throw.

The Bullfrogs ended the half with a basket from senior Danielle Diebold, but they trailed 28-7.

Rucker’s halftime message was centered around the effort that he felt his team wasn’t giving.

“I wanted them to play harder,” Rucker said. “I thought they out-hustled us most of the night up and down the court.”

Bret Harte scored as many points in the third quarter as it did in the first 16 minutes. The ’Frogs got a basket from Anderson and junior Ashlynn Maddeaux scored five to give Bret Harte seven third quarter points. However, the ’Frogs trailed 46-14.

The Bullfrogs had chances to score more points as Anderson pulled down the majority of Bret Harte’s rebounds. But getting second-chance points was not something that went in the Bullfrogs favor. And when Bret Harte tried to run its offense, it wasn’t as smooth as in past games.

“We need to get better at running our plays,” Maddeaux said. “For some reason, we just can’t remember them.”

While Bret Harte had trouble making its shots, that wasn’t the case for Argonaut. The Mustangs scored 18 points in the third quarter and it seemed as if every shot hit nothing but net.

“It makes it a lot harder to play when they are making all the shots,” Rucker said. “Defensively, we have to be able to cover them a lot better to make the shots a lot harder for them.”

The ’Frogs got six points in the fourth quarter. Two from freshman Ashlie Sutton, Diebold and Maddeaux.

Maddeaux led Bret Harte with 10 points, followed by Diebold with four, Anderson with three, Sutton with two and Stanfill with one.

“We had a couple of players that did some things correctly,” Rucker said. “I thought Maddie Walraven did a good job in the amount of time she played. But overall, there wasn’t a lot to take away from the game. We just have to improve.”

Bret Harte (6-8, 0-1 MLL) plays four of its next five games on the road. The Bullfrogs play Friday in Amador, who lost Tuesday night to Sonora.

“We are going to dwell on it for a little bit because I think we have to learn that if we want to get better, then we have to work harder,” Rucker said. “That will help up for the next game.”

Contact Guy Dossi at (209) 588-4538 or and follow him on Twitter at @DossiGuy