Numbers don’t lie. Casa Grande High School’s girls basketball team has played North Bay League power Montgomery twice this season and lost to the Lady Vikings both times.
“We played hard, but they are just 11 points better than us,” said Casa coach Dan Sack, whose Lady Gauchos were beaten, 42-31, on Thursday night in the Montgomery gym. The first time around the NBL schedule, Montgomery beat Casa, 48-37, in the Casa gym.
In the game’s first possession Thursday, Montgomery had four shots at the hoop. The Lady Vikings didn’t score, but it set the tone for game-long Montgomery domination of the backboards.
Although Montgomery received contributions from several sources, no Lady Viking was more damaging to the Lady Gauchos than Shayla Newman, who did it all — handling the ball, rebounding and scoring from both inside and outside.
“She’s a player,” complimented Sack. “She can score, and when she is covered, she sets up her teammates.”
Montgomery jumped out to an 11-4 first-quarter lead, and after that, every time the Lady Gauchos would make a run Newman was there to answer.
But the Gauchos managed to stay in the game on defense and determination.
Midway through the second period, Sophia Gardea hit a trey and Mia Cain worked inside to pull Casa to within a basket of its hosts at 13-11.
However, that was all the scoring for Casa in the half, and the Lady Gauchos broke for intermission back down by nine at 20-11.
Things just didn’t get any better for Casa in the second half. Cain, who had 13 points, kept within seeing, but not catching, distance of Montgomery through the final two periods, scoring 11 points on free throws in the second half, including 6-of-6 from the line at one point.
It just wasn’t enough to slow the streaking Lady Vikings, who are now 18-4 on the season and 8-2 in North Bay League play.
Casa Grande came back from the loss to play what Sack called, “Our best game of the year in a 62-35 non-league win at Alameda.
Sack said the Casa goal is always to play a whole game with no let downs. “We didn’t quite make it,” he said. “We had about a 30-second let down at the end of the second quarter. I’ll take it.
“The girls were ready to play. I haven’t seen them with that much energy all season.”
Casa, as it always does, came out pressing and opened up a 17-13 opening quarter lead.
The high-scoring first period was just a warm-up for the Lady Gauchos who exploded for 25 points in the second quarter, their highest-scoring period of the year.
Cain led the way. “They tried to pressure our guards and everything opened up for Mia,” Sack said. Cain scored 21 points in the first half as Casa opened up a 42-23 lead.
In the second half, Alameda collapsed on Cain and she began to kick the ball out to her teammates. She finished with 27 points, and 13 rebounds.
Freshman Trinity Merwin also had a big game for the Lady Gauchos, scoring 12 points with eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals.
In the second half, with Alameda defenders collapsing on Cain, she fed her teammates and they bombed Alameda with 3-pointers. Emma Reese hit three bombs for nine points and Hannah Sullivan connected on a pair for six points. Katherine Silviera added five points and Samantha Dedrickson and Jennifer Loyo two each. Dedrickson also pulled down six rebounds.