By DANNY YOEONO
The Bulldogs showed intense vigor in their Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, win over Petaluma High School. Even with multiple players in foul trouble, the Lady Bulldogs showed maturity by maintaining a significant lead and not fouling out.
In the end, the Dogs scored roughly 50 percent more than Petaluma with 44 points to Petaluma’s 30.
Petaluma scored the first points of the game to be followed by a three pointer by junior Alanis Lara to set the tone of the rest of the game. Petaluma would not lead again for the remainder of the game.
Petaluma went on a short run in the second half scoring six points that ended with a put-back layup by Lara.
The Dogs showed a dominance on the offensive end with five three-point field goals, three of those from junior Saelym Schmidt, and the last one a deep three from Alhambra center, fellow junior Karissa Wiebalk, over a Petaluma defender.
On the defensive end, Petaluma was reminded they were in the doghouse. The Dogs took advantage of their quick guards disrupting the Petaluma offense, often forcing them to shoot contested shots.
Alhambra made Petaluma earn their points from the free point line, especially in the second half where the dogs had 10 plus fouls putting Petaluma in the double bonus. In fact, at one point the coach and bench were hollering at their teammates to stop fouling.
“With our defense, we have guards that are quick and that’s what we are going to have to use to our advantage,” said coach Jason Bautista after the game. “That’s our strength. Our speed and our guards have to be able to fly around to give us a chance to disrupt their offense.
“Karissa got into a little bit of foul trouble. She showed a lot of maturity not to pick up her fifth foul with six minutes to go in the third quarter. That’s the kind of experience she brings to our team and that aggressiveness, but she’s playing in a way that is controlled. So yes, we need her to score, but her presence – whether she scores or not – is going to lift our team,” Bautista said.
Another junior, Lexie Rosales, had four steals in the third quarter alone, so she got additional playing time because of the foul trouble that plagued guard Cara DiMercurio.
In the end it was the play of the guards that kept the Bulldogs out in front for good.
“Saelym (Schmidt) hit timely threes that took the pressure off the girls who were in foul trouble. Lani (Lara) handled the ball well tonight. She controlled the tempo and got us into our offense,” Bautista said.
“This Division III win is a big win for us because it shows that we can compete within our division where five out of the seven teams are D III, and then going forward with our game against Jesse Bethel-Vallejo (Thursday, Dec. 10, after Tribune deadline) knowing that Petaluma just beat Jesse Bethel last week,” said Bautista.
“Our goal is by the end of this week to be at .500 with three wins and three losses,” he said.