By GERARDO RECINOS
After Alhambra’s 70-31 win over Kennedy-Richmond, Jason Bautista inquired as to how the team did from the free throw line.
The answer: 0/10 from the line in the first quarter alone. “Make sure you put that in print,” Bautista said. “I want them to see that.”
Thats the level the program has ascended to almost overnight for some of us. But for the team, the results come as a result of a summer and fall program that changed the team.
Now, staring down the barrel at a 10-game winning streak and a title game against an unknown Las Vegas opponent.
Kennedy was one of the sides that lined up well with Alhambra due to their tenacity in defense, but their composure was lacking.
The Eagles hung with the Bulldogs for about a quarter, but a pull up jumper by senior Lani Lara put Alhambra up seven before the first interval. That was with Alhambra’s abysmal showing from the free-throw line.
But they created enough turnovers and caused Kennedy enough trouble so that even if they weren’t sinking their shots from the foul line, they got the other team in trouble. Only three minutes into the second quarter Kennedy had a player foul out of the game, while as a team they had 11 team fouls.
Alhambra went on a 15-3 run highlighted by big efforts from Bry Waters, who again lead the way in scoring in the first half. Waters gashed the Kennedy defense of fast breaks, and showed an impressive bit of speed when she turned the corner on defenders who looked to have the angle to close her off before getting to the basket.
Up 18 at halftime, the Bulldogs came out of the break with the same fast offense. A 17-0 run blitzed the Eagles directly from the break. Senior Saelym Schmidt opened the run with a wing-jumper, and added her first three-pointer of the run to cap it off.
The run encompassed the entire quarter, and not only did Alhambra not allow Kennedy to score, they didn’t even have an attempt from the free throw line.
Kennedy scored first to start the fourth quarter, with an energized Jermila McElroy leading the way. The 5-foot-4 sophomore didn’t quit and fired up shot after shot, while also driving off a crowd off Bulldogs in an effort to get to the basket.
Unfortunately her efforts were useless. Although the Bulldogs couldn’t fully get the 40-point lead needed to get the running clock going, they settled in and outscored Kennedy 13-11 despite not really having much to play for.
The win put the Bulldogs in the final of the West Coast Jamboree against Cheyenne-Las Vegas, Nevada, a game that took place on Dec. 30.