Girls Basketball Ease to Playoff Victory

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On Saturday night, the girls basketball team obliterated the Mountain View Spartans 52-26 in their first CCS playoff game.

Sophomore Lita Fakapelea won the tip-off on behalf of the Bears and made a corner three-pointer in the same possession. While both sides showed intense defense, M-A was consistently a step ahead of the Spartans. Two free throws by junior Avary Sheldon, sophomore Molly Gray’s easy layup, and Fakapelea’s back-to-back three-pointers further reinforced M-A’s lead to a whopping 13-0.

M-A’s defense and rebounding proved almost impenetrable, collecting Spartan turnovers left and right and translating them into offensive opportunities. Mountain View made a few shots but the Bears still managed to keep their lead, ending the first quarter 15-8. 

Senior Hayden Wan tightly defends Mountain View player

Mountain View came into the second quarter with a new guard-only lineup, hoping to outpace M-A. However, the Bears remained unfazed, keeping up with the Spartans’ speed and fast passing and even overriding their offense, taking control of the rhythm of the game. 

The Spartans managed to make some shots through gaps in the Bears’ defense but the Bears continued to push through. Two minutes into the quarter, Sheldon broke through the press and cut cleanly through defenders in the key, following through with a smooth finger roll to the basket. 

In addition to Sheldon’s second reverse layup and two three-point shots, sophomore Luisa Tava and junior Eve Amram also made threes of their own. Senior Fiona Steinmetz also found her spot under the basket with a quick layup. 

As the clock wound down, Sheldon finished with a tip-in to the basket. The first half ended with M-A up 38-16, with 15 of those points scored by Sheldon alone. 

Decisive and consistent passes from M-A marked the third quarter and the Bears denied the Spartans’ continuous offensive attempts. Fakapelea threw numerous flawless assists to Steinmetz under the basket, putting M-A’s lead up to 41-16. 

The Bears started to tire out on defense, giving way to a clean three and layup from the Spartans but still managed to hold out on offense, with junior Crystal Guerra Herrera scoring two more buckets under the basket, ending the quarter 45-21. 

Desperate to score, the Spartans frantically tried to find opportunities for quick shots in the final quarter. M-A caught most of the Spartans’ attempts early on, but some shots still fell through, increasing Mountain View’s score to 26. 

Guerra Herrera and freshman Isabelle Habibi share a laugh

The fourth quarter became messy quickly, with a Spartan player falling, twisting her ankle, and being carried out to the bench. A series of fouls and jump-balls also resulted in offensive turnovers and little scoring on both sides. 

The Bears finally freed themselves from the frenzy and sealed their victory with a three-pointer from junior Sara Djafari and a subsequent basket from sophomore Luisa Tava.

“We knew we had to win this game––CCS is win or go home. We were ready to play, we did what we had to do, and we had that extra motivation,” said Sheldon.

“We were moving the ball really well, better than we have all season,” she added. “We were hitting the one-more pass, and everyone was unselfish and got the best looks we could on offense, and that was really good to see.” 

As the Bears head tonight against second-seed Branham High School, they feel excited but nervous. “I’m looking for another dub, but we need to work a lot more on defense and on getting more offensive boards,” Fakapelea said. 

“Branham is very skilled offensively, so we need to step up by hustling for rebounds and loose balls, as well as being in help defense,” Steinmetz said.

Sheldon said, “Winning CCS was our goal from the beginning of the season. We’re playing a really good team, so I’m excited to see if we can keep this up and how far it will take us.”

Celine Chien is a junior in her second year at the Chronicle. She is the current Editor-in-Chief, a Design Lead for the Mark, a copy editor, and reports on detracking and community news. Celine is on M-A's debate team, Leadership-ASB, and loves to cook and spend time with her family.

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