JV girls’ basketball dominate the Washington Eagles in latest feather fight

Sophomore guard and forward Alyson Lee dribbles against the Eagle defender on Jan. 13. Photo by Ciara Kosai

Determined and focused, the Cardinals used their speed and skill at every opportunity to once again steal possession of the ball from the Washington Eagles. Strong defense heavily influenced the JV girls’ basketball team’s victory in the annual Battle of the Birds on Jan. 13 at Kezar Stadium as they conquered the Washington Eagles with a score of 44–27.

The first half started off slow with the Eagles scoring the first basket. But, the Cardinals began to gain momentum and penetrated the Eagle defense to obtain the lead. Later in the first half, mistakes by the Cardinals allowed the Eagles to close a seven-point gap. “The first half consisted of a lot of turnovers due to careless mistakes on the offensive end,” sophomore co-captain and guard Tomi Eijima said. The first half ended with the Cardinals up 20–18.

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The game started to pick up and gain intensity in the third quarter. The Cardinals continuously regained possession of the ball through steals, allowing them to score easy baskets off fast breaks. “We made [the Eagles] foul less because we were aggressive and our defense picked up,” head coach Christine Hosoda said.

Freshman guard Nicole Chan prepares to go up for the layup off a fast break. Photo by Tobi Kawanami

Despite passing the ball upcourt well and creating opportunities to shoot the ball, the Cardinals were not finishing most of the basic shots at the basket, according to sophomore co-captain and forward Samantha Quach. However, the Cardinals utilized their strong defense to stop the Eagles from catching up. “There was this run toward the end of the third quarter when [Alyson Lee] and I got a lot of steals and that just brought up the energy a bit from the slump we were in,” Quach said. The Cardinals ended the third quarter up 34–21.

“You can’t really score if you don’t really have the defense down.”

In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals maintained aggressive offense and defense that ultimately played the biggest role in their victory. “I think what really got us through the second half was the constant reminder that we must fight for every possession in order to come out victorious,” Eijima said.

The Cardinals consistently managed to convert defensive plays into offensive opportunities. “You can’t really score if you don’t really have the defense down,” Eijima said. “I think once we get stops then it leads us to better ball movement on the offensive end and we get better shots.” The Cardinals extended their lead throughout the quarter, finishing the game with a final score of 44–27.

Despite the win, the Cardinals did not perform ideally but they did improve compared to their previous games, according to Eijima. Besides basic shots, the Cardinals missed about half of their free throws in the game. They have plans to improve their shooting skills, along with their communication, passing, and decision making skills, over the season.

This victory continued the girls’ undefeated regular season of 4–0. In the first three league games, they took down the Lincoln Mustangs 34–16 on Jan. 5, the KIPP Phoenixes 35–31 on Jan. 10, and the John O’Connell Boilermakers 40–15 on Jan. 18. The Lady Cardinals’ next game is against the Galileo Lions at Galileo High School at 4 p.m. on Friday.