Casa Grande proved no match for perennial North Coast section finalist Miramonte on Saturday as the relentless Lady Matadors ran away with a 66-17 win in the final game of the Big House Invitational basketball tournament. Both teams went into the game with two consecutive tourney wins.
It was a case of too much pressure defense as the Lady Gauchos were limited to only four points in the second half. Miramonte was able to pressure almost every inbound attempt by the hosts, and followed up with a stifling secondary series of traps around mid court.
On three occasions, the pressured Gauchos were called for taking more than five seconds to inbound the ball.
Gaucho coach Dan Sack was not fooled by the long afternoon that challenged his club. "We just want to compete with them," he said before tip-off.
Mission accomplished. The Casa girls enthusiastically battled one of the best teams in northern California from start to finish.
As he did in a Thursday game against Redwood, coach Kelly Sopak of Miramonte opened the game with his second line of players before flooring the regulars in the second quarter. Senior Megan Reid had 11 first half points for the Matadors. Lightning-quick guard Mariah Seals came in late but scored 12 points
Every combination of players moved the line along by hustling for every loose ball and forcing Casa to turn over the basketball. Eight players got into the scoring column for Miramonte.
Veteran Casa guard Meagan Burke took advantage of her quickness to score 10 points all in the first half.
Burke and Sara Langdon played a competitive floor game for the hosts, despite harassment in the back court.
Redwood of Larkspur opened play in the afternoon with a 45-37 victory over Eureka.
On Friday, Casa exploded for 19 points in the final period to overhaul Redwood, 50-48, in an exciting second-round game. The Lady Gauchos trailed 35-31 after three periods.
Burke, Brooke Santander and Joy Jovick knocked in the pivotal late shots from the stripe.
"Our girls were attacking the basket in the second half and that got them to the line," explained Sack. "We went to an offense that we used three years ago to get into position to score. We haven't practiced that all year, but three girls played back then and remembered exactly what to do." Two baskets came from those patterns on assists by Santander.
Casa was paced by a 19-point effort by Santander and 15 points from hard-working center Angela Llaverias.
Redwood fell for the fourth consecutive game after opening the season with a victory over St. Vincent.
Powerful Miramonte pressed its way to a 65-15 halftime lead and coasted past Eureka 92-32 in the first game. The final stanza was played with a running clock.
Casa got a test from Eureka in the tournament opener on Thursday but the Lady Gauchos held on for a 49-41 win to kick off the regular season.
Despite never leading in the game the Loggers made scoring runs of nine and seven points to make the game more closely contested. The first run came before half to chop an early Casa lead to 26-24 at intermission.
Gaucho forward Santander found the range quickly with 12 points in the first half including a pair of three point shots from well behind the top of the key.