By GERARDO RECINOS
Alhambra’s girls basketball team took care of business in a fairly easy win over Ygnacio Valley on Tuesday night by a score of 84-54.
The Valentine’s Day win was Alhambra’s biggest scoring output of the season, and put them in position to have a happy Friday. But Clayton Valley’s big win over Concord has assured that the Bulldogs will likely finish in third place in the Diablo Athletic League.
It seems harsh to think that winning 20 games in a season can put you in the place the Lady Dogs are now in.
As it stands the Bulldogs were in full on coast-mode. With two lesser opponents in Ygnacio Valley and Mt. Diablo as their two final games of the season, these big wins will do little to nothing for their playoff pedigree.
Nonetheless, the games were still to be played.
The Warriors looked hungry in the first few minutes of play, and even despite a slight lapse on defense in the latter stages of the quarter, it still took a trio of 3-pointers from Karissa Wiebalk (2) and Bry Waters to create a gap early on.
Waters, who has been out with a knee injury for just over a month, is starting to settle back into the team. Prior to her injury the sophomore was a staple in the staring lineup.
Suddenly the Warriors’ fight started to slip away.
Wiebalk, who had 15 of her game-high 22 points in the first half, nailed another pair of triples, as did fellow senior Lani Lara.
Lara, who has started to heat up from beyond the arc as of late, had 19 points on the night. Of those 19 points, 10 came in the second quarter alone.
Her run was what fueled the team’s 16-0 run that really put an insurmountable gap between the Bulldogs and Warriors.
However it wasn’t just down to Lara and Wiebalk to do the scoring. The two seniors were Kaylee Pond and Kieara Rios as double-digit scorers.
Impressively on the defensive side, 10 of Pond’s total 13 points came on either a second chance opportunity, or off a steal. The energetic freshman made a nuisance of herself and seemed to nearly always get a finger tip on a pass.
Alhambra continued to extrapolate its lead with a strong shooting second half. Saelym Schmidt had a quiet first half, but managed to rack up eight points with a strong jump-shooting display. The senior drained contested shots with ease to continue the rout.
Perhaps in December the girls would’ve taken their foot off the pedal up 30 points with a quarter to play. But with the playoffs looming they continued to compete. And by doing so put up a second 20-point quarter, keeping pace with the Warriors.
Ygnacio poured in 19 points in the final eight minutes of play against the Bulldogs’ second unit. Even in a tune up for the playoffs against an opponent they have beaten by a combined 87 points, there is still only one focus.
And on Sunday the North Coast Section committee will quantify that work and focus.