Casa Grande wrapped up a strong performance at the West Coast Jamboree by routing San Domenico, 58-37, to finish in third place in the strong Amethyst bracket played at Jesse Bethel High School in Vallejo. The Lady Gauchos won two of three contests in the 3-day affair.
The frustrating full-court pressure by the Gauchos was too much for the young Division V team from San Anselmo that turned the ball over 19 times and fell behind by double digits in the second half. Leading Panther scorer Kayden Korst sat out the contest with an injury but was selected to the all-tourney team.
Casa pulled away to a 22-18 lead in the first half, led by quick freshmen Trinity Merwin and Sophia Gardea, who forced Panther dribblers into double-team pressure as the game moved forward. The first-year teammates also had 11 points between them in the first two periods.
The Gauchos had a 16-9 advantage in the third stanza with six players contributing to the scoring. Hannah Sullivan and Emma Reese tossed in 3-pointers to key the rally.
Casa smelled victory, and the Gauchos added 20 points in the final stanza, led by four shots from distance by Sullivan and Katherine Silveira.
Mia Cain had a strong finish for the third consecutive contest by controlling the glass along with Samantha Dedrickson, and she banked in four points to close it out. Cain finished with eight points.
Cain and Merwin were all-tournament selections for the Gauchos, who improved to 7-4 for the season.
Sullivan topped both teams with 14 points, followed by Merwin with 13 and Gardea with 11.
The top Panther point maker was Cate Olrich with 12, while Alexa DalPorto added nine points for the Panthers, who fell to 6-3 overall. There are no seniors on the young San Domenico club.
Final-second shooting heroics by reserve guard Emma Reece forced an overtime period for the cold-shooting Gauchos, who dropped a 46-41 decision to Saratoga in the second round on Friday.
Reece found the range from the baseline with less than a minute to go and Casa trailed 39-37 with time enough for a shot by Saratoga before the buzzer. The ball was hustled to the offensive end of the court, where Reece was fouled in a battle for a rebound with five seconds remaining. The cool sophomore dropped in a pair of charity tossed to tie the score at 39 as the game clock sounded on a desperation shot by the Lady Falcons.
Overtime did not help the Gauchos much as they went the entire four minutes with only a single field goal by Cain from the inside. The more balanced Falcons got scoring from three players and won going away.
Casa bombed away from the outer reaches of the 3-point arc, but nothing dropped. The Gauchos converted on only one shot by Merwin in the third stanza.
Cain caught fire down the stretch, but it was just enough to keep the Gauchos close. The reliable senior had nine of her game-high 12 points in the fourth period. Drives and put-backs by Cain kept things close. Sullivan came down sick and sat out the second half for Casa.
Reece hit her key shots, and finished with 11 points for Casa Grande, while Merwin had a solid start with eight points in the first half. Reece had her best offensive showing of the season with 11 points.