T-Girls celebrate holidays with big win
Published: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 11:32 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 11:32 a.m.
At the end of last season, Hercules caught the Petaluma T-Girls with a furious rally in the final period to win a first-round girls North Coast Section playoff game. Energetic Lady Titan coach Daniel Guy was caught up in the moment and remarked at the time, “We will have to do this again next season.”
The two teams met again with many of the same cast of characters present on the same floor Saturday, and this time the T-Girls grimly hung on for an exciting 59-55 win. Stay tuned at the end of the season for a possible game three of a well-played trilogy.
Neither team disappointed a holiday crowd of well wishers after a T-Girl floor entry wearing festive Santa hats. The game was close and up tempo that could have gone either way. Led by determined senior guard Lisa Guptil and center Allison Scranton, the T-Girls finally got to the finish line first, but it was never comfortable.
Guptil had her best all-around contest by continually beating the Hercules press to set up a very quick-paced T-Girls offensive attack. Several times she got around the fist line of pressure defenders to get Petaluma into a comfortable quick passing game. In addition, she canned two 3-point shots to help the T-Girls hold a narrow 27-25 advantage at halftime.
“I had a hard time getting over the game last year, and it meant a lot to win this time,” she said, “I shot a lot more than usual, and some outside shots went in. Coach has been working with me almost every day to mix it up, but I am left handed and went in that direction tonight. I can go right, too.”
Guptil finished with 12 points.
The athletic Titan team had no answer for Petaluma center Allison Scranton, who turned in another solid performance with a team high 16 points and 20 rebounds. After another slow start, Scranton worked for good position underneath the basketball and she battled to score on high entry passes and a couple of put back shots. They were well earned.
The usually reliable Scranton missed her first four foul shots, but bounced back to score 12 points down the stretch. Her final two charity tosses iced the game for Petaluma.
An acrobatic lay-up by guard Gena Teagarden was very critical in the final stanza, and she converted a free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play after climbing off the deck in the final minutes. Teagarden added 10 points for Petaluma.
The Titans would never go away, as they stayed close with an assortment of shots around the baseline. Etiene Ekanem scored in every stanza to lead both teams in scoring with 19 points. Sophomore floor leader Alyssa Rodriguez added 11 points and five assists for the Titans, who fell to 7-6 for the season after a difficult pre-league.
Although it won't show up in the stat sheets, junior Cassie Baddeley has begun to emerge for the T-Girls. She scored six points, but it was her scrambling efforts on defense that helped hold off Hercules. She deflected almost every pass in her direction, and yanked away several important contested balls. Anything on the floor was ticketed for her hands.
Sophie Bihn added six points.
“That is the way basketball is supposed to be played,” commented pleased T-Girl assistant coach Janelle Lombardi.
Forward Maddie Mehciz also continued to contribute with eight points and several key rebounds in the second half.
Although it was just one game, Petaluma coach Doug Johnson felt that his team had practiced well in anticipation of the rematch. He liked the pace of the game. “I could see this might happen,” he said. “We practiced very well on Thursday and Friday. Now we take a couple of days off and get ready for Granada at the West Coast Jamboree. They have a couple of close losses to good teams.”
The T-Girls improved to 6-3 with the victory.
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