Naysayers beware. The Sonora varsity girls basketball team is on a tear.
They played their way to a 10-2 regular season Mother Lode League record and a league co-championship title.
Tuesday night they stifled El Dorado in the first round of the CIF-Sac Joaquin division playoffs, 60-32.
“It was such a good game, it was so exciting,” said coach Amy Emerald.
The ‘Cats got off to a bit of a slow start, falling behind 10-3 early in the first.
Enter senior Haylie Santos. She came in and hit back to back three-pointers.
The buckets ignited the team’s scoring as the Wildcats went on a 22-0 run and took a 28-14 lead into the half.
“We just maintained the lead at that point,” said Emerald. “We got better as the game went on.”
Heading into the season, Emerald knew expectations weren’t high. The roster was young and experience limited.
Clearly someone didn’t convince the team this might be a problem.
“That was never a thing to us,” said Emerald.
This year’s roster includes three freshmen and three sophomores.
Emerald has gotten production from the bench all year. And they’re using the youth factor to their advantage.
“They don’t have the nerves. They just go in and do what they do,” said Emerald.
In Tuesday’s game the seniors were the stars. Santos had an impressive 25 points, including six three-pointers. She also had six rebounds and four assists.
Caitlin Baker had 10 points, 15 rebounds and four assists.
“Caitlin and Haylie played like they were seniors who didn’t want their season to end,” said Emerald.
Thursday the Wildcats will face the bracket’s No. 1 seed, Foothills out of Sacramento. They’ll be on the road, too. But Emerald doesn’t expect either to factor into how the team performs.
Sonora will have to play them eventually, so why not in the second round, Emerald said.
The game begins at 7 p.m.