By GERARDO RECINOS
Unlike their male counterparts, the girls varsity basketball team was in the playoffs when they took on Mt. Diablo on Feb. 17.
Their destiny was sealed long before the 66-24 win on Friday night, and it would’ve taken something truly shocking to change that.
What was less shocking was how easily they were able to dispatch the Red Devil girls, and do what few Alhambra teams before it have done.
Their 22-win season stands aside some of the best Alhambra teams in recent memory, but there was little doubt they would take care of business after beating Ygnacio three days prior.
A 25-3 quarter was only the start of the lopsided-ness of the results that day. Had it not been for a baked 3-pointer by Mt. Diablo’s Karen Ponce, the Red Devils may have been blanked in the first quarter.
As it was they didn’t stand a chance at overturning the lead.
Alhambra started of shooting the ball well with, but it was a combination of size and shooting touch that built up the early lead. Senior Karissa Wiebalk had nine points in the first quarter alone, while both Lani Lara and Kaylee Pond chipped in five points a piece.
The Red Devils did make some strides offensively for their dismal quarter, but their trouble came handling the basketball. They turned the ball over 31 times.
Lara and Pond had a lot to due with that number, as they consistently picked the pocket of the Mt. Diablo guards, often directly turning those turnovers into fast break points.
By the time halftime rolled around, the Bulldogs had nearly reached the magical 40-point mark that would trigger the running clock.
Saelym Schmidt had tacked on eight points in the half to build up the lead, while the rest of the team followed suit.
There wasn’t much competition left the rest of the way. The Red Devils were only outscored 13-7 in the third quarter, and improved even on that mark in the fourth quarter by holding the Lady Dogs to 11 points.
But in truth those present knew that Alhambra was not bothered with the remaining minutes on the clock. Those minutes only signified how much longer the Bulldogs would concentrate on Mt. Diablo before shifting their focus to their next unknown opponent.
Coach Jason Bautista spoke to his girls after the game and reminded them that very few teams at Alhambra have accomplished what they have up to this point. But he also reminded them of the banner that hangs in the gym commemorating the 2001 girls varsity basketball team that won the Division III championship.
It symbolized the work still to be done.