Casa Grande High School's Lady Gauchos turned what appeared to be a classic North Bay League vs. Sonoma County League showdown into a one-sided blow out Tuesday night, pressuring Analy's Lady Tigers into submission, 44-24.
Casa moves up to the NBL this season after dominating the SCL last year. Analy is perennially one of the top teams in the SCL. The inter-league confrontation never really materialized Tuesday in Casa's Coach Ed Iacopi gymnasium.
After a lackluster first half, Casa Grande's pressure defense took Analy completely out of the game in the second half. Defensing the Lady Tigers from baseline to baseline, the Lady Gauchos forced 27 Analy turnovers.
Offensively, the Lady Gauchos took awhile to get started, but eventually their unselfish ball sharing paid enough dividends for them to record their third win in four games.
No Lady Gaucho scored in double digits, but all but two did score. One of those missing from the scorebook was senior guard Lyndsey Murnin, the team's early season scoring leader, who took only four shots.
"That's the kind of team we are. We are very unselfish," said Casa Grande coach Dan Sack. "I like the way everyone shares the ball."
Lexie Schloetter led the long list of Casa Grande scorers with nine points, with Kayla Ryan and Angela Llaverias scoring seven apiece. Also contributing were Sarah Langdon with two, Megan Burke with three, Lucia Mora with two, Brooke Santander with four, Emma Bryan with two, Joy Jovick with two and Allie Fausone with two.
Analy managed to stay in the game in the slow-paced first half largely because Casa Grande missed a multitude of good-look shots. In fact, the Lady Gauchos never did get the range on their long-distance shots, making just three 3-pointers in the contest.
Analy, with sophomores Jenna Petray (5-foot, 10-inches) and Taylor Lehman (5-foot, 8-inches) working inside and senior Haley Bradford driving to the hoop, had its chances to stay in the game early, but couldn't get the lid to lift from the basket and reached halftime trailing, 15-10. Petray finished game high for the Lady Tigers with seven.
The second half was all Casa Grande, with its pressuring defense blanketing the Lady Tigers into turnover after turnover that a host of Lady Gauchos turned into baskets.
"Our pressure worked better in the second half because we began to make a few baskets and forced them to take the ball out of bounds," Sack pointed out.
Dolcini with two drives to the hoop; Ryan with two baskets, one a 3-pointer; and Llaverias with a short jumper accounted for an 11-point Casa Grande run late in the third quarter and any semblance of a contest was ended.
While Analy continued to fuel the Gaucho assault with turnovers, Casa continued to drop home short shots and free throws though the final period. Highlight of the last round was a 3-point connection by Burke.
"I enjoy coaching these kids," Sack said. "They are a lot of fun.
"We've been throwing a lot of stuff at them both offensively and defensively, and they are right with us, making the adjustments."