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Alhambra girls rebound after losing streak with road win

By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

For teams that come off of long winning streaks, there is one surefire cure to getting back on track: winning the next game.

It can be a shock to the system to lose after a winning streak, especially one that lasted 51 days. But with their late surge on Tuesday, the Bulldogs were able to scrape out a 63-59 win on the road against Clayton Valley Charter.

Alhambra was lead by its trio of seniors who have put in their time with the program in the Jan. 24 win. Senior Karissa Wiebalk put up a season-high 34 points in the win, while guard Saelym Schmidt added 18 points.

Lani Lara, another guard, only scored four points, but they were the most important points on the night, the ones that made it a two possession game with less than a minute on the clock.

On top of that, Lara has always been lauded by coach Jason Bautista for her defensive work, and her ability to contribute points when needed.

For a while points were not at a premium. Both teams came out ready to score, and for the second game in a row Alhambra had to contend with a team that liked to shoot the three-pointer early and often. This is what the Warriors have done for Bay Area basketball at every level, it seems.

Unlike the game against Concord, the Bulldogs didn’t let diminutive shooter Kat Segovia get into too much of a roll. The sophomore hit a trio of three-pointers in the first quarter alone. But this time coach Jason Bautista assigned his most energetic player, freshman Kaylee Pond, to mark the sharpshooter.

Pond face-guarded Segovia and followed her around the whole court. She only hit one more three-pointer on the night.

Alhambra employed a different philosophy entirely. They worked the ball around patiently looking for points the paint, of which Wiebalk chipped in 13 in the first half. That alone was enough to keep a one-sided first half within reach. But Wiebalk’s three-pointers in back to back possessions put her at 22 points in the half, and cut the lead to only four points at the half.

While the Bulldogs slowed down Segovia from beyond the arc, junior guard Kelly Osterkamp picked up the slack, and then some. The junior captain hit eight three pointers for the Ugly Eagles, and racked up 31 points on the night.

The duo of Segovia and Osterkamp accounted for 78 percent of the Eagles’ points on the night, and at halftime Wiebalk alone accounted for 73 percent of Alhambra’s points.

In stepped Schmidt to help make the difference, and close the gap.

The senior guard put on a clinic shooting from the field, raining in pull-up jumpers from her favorite spot on the court, just inside the three point line from the corner of the court.

Her 14-point second half was as much to do for the turning of the tide as anything, and it was her shot that gave Alhambra their first lead of the night.

That lead was short-lived, as the two teams exchanged leads seven times in the final quarter and a half of game time.

However the defining moment came from Lara. With under 100 seconds of game time, the senior nailed a big 16-foot jump shot, and then grabbed a huge offensive rebound on the very next possession to put Alhambra up four points with 48.6 seconds.

Osterkamp nailed a long three-pointer with under 10 seconds on the clock to make things tight, but Alhambra managed to scrape out the win despite the junior eclipsing the 30-point mark on the night.

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