JV girls’ basketball commands the floor in Battle of the Birds

Originally published on January 21, 2016

Freshman Lauren Chan. Photo by Leonard Caoili

The whistle sounds. An Eagle player and sophomore forward and center Joanne Thai reach high for the ball. Thai touches the ball first and passes it off to her teammates, and the Cardinal advantage sticks for the rest of the game. With this lead, the JV girls’ basketball team swept the Eagles’ defense with a 34–15 victory on Jan. 15 in Battle of the Birds at Kezar and currently stands at a 3–0 season.

The Cards started the game strong with the team utilizing gaps in the Eagles’ defense to pass to offense and shoot. The girls had nearly every tip-off covered as freshman guard and forward Katelyn Lee took the next one mid-quarter. Using their offensive strategy and tip-off control, the Lady Cards ended the first quarter with an eight point lead, 8–0.

In the second quarter, players on both teams wrestled for the ball. After the Cardinals gained an 11 point lead, they played heavy defense. Sophomore forward and guard Gabrielle Lau had two straight steals and Lee blocked an Eagle shot. Though the Eagles made two free throws, they struggled to cut the Cardinal lead, and the Cards ended the first half 14–2.

Sophomore Gabrielle Lau. Photo by Leonard Caoili

At the beginning of the second half, the Eagles attempted to climb from the bottom of the scoreboard with free throws and came out of the quarter with seven more points. But, the Cardinals maintained their lead. Lee made a convincing fake-out against the Eagles and the Cardinals scored. The girls ended the third quarter 18–9.

The team focused on defense for the final quarter. Sophomore forward and guard Olivia Pan nabbed the first two points of the final quarter to allow the Cardinals to maintain control, but the Eagles turned the tables and earned four points with a free throw and a three-pointer, setting the score at 20–13. However, sophomore guard Elise Ng and sophomore forward and center Nomin Rinchin both responded with three-pointers, and the Lady Cards ran away with the game. A Cardinal steal at the buzzer marked the end of the game and Cardinals were victorious, winning 34–15.

Freshman Lauren Chan. Photo by Leonard Caoili

The team was pumped from the energy and the excitement of the crowd that remained after the game. “I feel that we communicated really well throughout the entire game even though it was crazy loud in there,” Chan said. “We had so much energy on and off the court, but I think we picked up intensity a lot in the fourth quarter.”

“I feel that we communicated really well throughout the entire game even though it was crazy loud in there.”

Sophomore guard Kiana Sujishi. Photo by Leonard Caoili

Despite the energetic game, the team hopes to improve in some areas “The first three quarters were kind of slow but we picked up momentum in the last quarter and we played really well,” sophomore guard Kiana Sujishi said. “But we need to work on our defense and not using the hands to limit fouling, and also watching our shots.”

The girls will continue with the season in their next game on Jan. 27 against the John O’Connell Boilermakers at John O’Connell High School at 4 p.m.