Sonora’s girls varsity basketball team has just one league loss this year. It came earlier this month against Calaveras.
This week the ‘Cats got their payback with a 63-53 victory in San Andreas.
“It was a great back and forth game,” said coach Amy Emerald.
At the end of the first it was 18-17. At the half, Sonora was clinging to another one-point lead, 30-29.
As the third quarter got underway, Emerald’s team was surging, playing their game and put Calaveras on their heels.
“We drove the ball really well,” said Emerald. “That’s something we’ve been working on.”
That relentless effort forced mistakes and sent the Wildcats to the line 37 times. They made 24 of them.
“We did a really good job of drawing the fouls,” said Emerald.
Despite having two post players leave the game with early foul trouble, Sonora’s solid bench players came in to seal the gaps.
“It really didn’t slow us down at all,” said Emerald.
Shanece Garrett led the team on scoring with 22 points. She also had eight rebounds and four steals. Caitlin Baker had 16 points and eight rebounds. Haylie Santos added 14 points and seven steals.
This season’s team is an impressive mix of talent with players representing each grade.
The team hadn’t played together until just as league play was getting underway. Emerald called up two freshman - Jessica Berry and Jaycee Hawkins - to help round out a roster that was struggling some with injury and illness.
But that has only helped the team’s dynamic.
Emerald had a lot of confidence in her freshman picks. They both played virtually year-round and have parental support, experience and athleticism.
“When I look to bring somebody up I’m looking for someone with the whole package,” she said. “They’ve done exactly what I’ve expected.”
Tuesday’s win was emotionally exhausting, said Emerald. That makes Friday’s night off even more important as league play ends and the playoffs begin.
The Wildcats will play at Argonaut Tuesday and at Summerville Feb. 9 before returning home for their final regular season game Feb. 13 against Linden.
Those games are the focus right now, said Emerald. There’s no talk of the post-season. There’s plenty of work to be done before that discussion takes place.
Especially the Argonaut game.
“Argonaut is going to be the league title game,” said Emerald.
So the ‘Cats will keep their heads down, putting in work, just like they’ve done all season.
Emerald wants to fine-tune the offense, making sure scoring opportunities are taken advantage of. They’ll work on a few defensive rotations, too.
And while there is always room for improvement, Emerald is pleased with the team’s progress.
“This is a good time to be peaking,” she said.
IT was a great back and forth game last night
We kind of got out a little bit early
At the end of the first it was 18*17
At half time it was 30-29
We were able to pull ahead a little in the third quarter
A few baskets late sealed the win for the cats
Each team would go on a little bit of a run
But we were able
That was really exciting
Shanece had 22 points for us
We went to the line 37 times and made 24
We did a really good job of drawing the fouls
We drove the ball really well
That’s something we’ve been working on
Two of our post players went out with two fouls pretty quick
It really didnt’ slow us down at all
I was really
They both had a lot of playing time with travel teams
It’s kind of unfortunate in a way that kids habe to play year round
These girls have had the parental support
Just their experinec and athelti
They’re both just great kids
All four of my underclassmen
That was my expectation fro the beginning
When i look to bring somebody up i’m looking for somene with the whole package
They’e done exactly what i’ve exp
We’re talking about our next game
Three in a row that
I’m actually really happy we have a bye this friday
Last night was exhausting
Argonaut is going to be the league title game
After that at summerville
Need to work more on offense
We didn’t play
Not a lot of coheseness
Just a few defensive rotations
They are night and day different
Litteraly we have two girls from each grade on the team
Usually there’s a core
They han’dt played together
Them getting them used
This is a good time to be peaking