End of the NCS trail for Lady Gauchos
Published: Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
Second seeded Clayton Valley had too many weapons for visiting Casa Grande, and the Lady Eagles moved to the North Coast Section Division II semifinals with a convincing 61-35 win in a physically charged game in Concord on Friday.
After senior Lyndsey Murnin of Casa banked in a 3-pointer to open the scoring, it was all Clayton Valley as the Lady Eagles rushed to a 23-9 first quarter lead. and were never threatened.
For Murnin it was a night to forget after she scored the first seven points for the Lady Gauchos. A knee injury forced her out of the contest with a couple of minutes left in the first quarter, and she was never the same. Twice the gritty point guard tried to return in the second and third periods, but on the advice of coach Dan Sack and the team trainer, she had to shut it down.
Clayton Valley scored in every way possible to open the game against Casa. Many of the Eagle points came on the inside on short bank shots, but they also added three shots from outside the arc in the first period.
Casa came out in a box and one against high scoring Ashley Allen (18.3 ppg), but she was content to share the ball with her teammates, and sophomore Haley Pascoe lit up the scoreboard for 12 points in the opening stanza.
“I was able to see them play twice this season. One of their league games was very lopsided, and there was more balanced scoring,” said Sack, “I figured that if we took Allen out of her regular rhythm the rest of the team might not show up. It didn't work out that way because Pascoe converted almost everything she put up there.”
The box and one also left vulnerable weak side rebounding opportunities for the Lady Eagles, and 5-foot, 10- inch junior Kayla Taylor converted the easy ones to finish with 16 points tying Pascoe for game honors.
Casa tried to stay within range by casting up a barrage of long-range shots, but most of them didn't fall. Finally, after trailing 33-15 at halftime, the Gauchos got three shots from long distance by Brooke Santander in the third period. Santander scored 11 of the Gauchos' 12 points in the third period with knuckling bombs from the top of the key that temporarily silenced the crowd that was enjoying the one-sided contest.
Santander carried the scoring load the rest of the night for the Lady Gauchos, and finished with a game-high 18 points. It was the second consecutive outburst for the Casa junior, who has closed with a rush in the late season. Santander meshed 26 in a win over Washington of Fremont on Tuesday.
Sack and Santander were in agreement that the loss of Murnin crippled the chances of any comeback by the Gauchos.
“Normally, Lyndsey doesn't come off the floor for us,” said Sack. “She is our leader, and the girls depend on her. I thought our subs did a great job against their pressure defense under the circumstances.”
“She has handled most of the pressure as our guard,” added Santander. “Our bench doesn't have that kind of experience.”
Clayton Valley continued to harass and double team throughout the entire game as Pascoe finally left the floor with less than a minute remaining.
Unheralded junior forward Angela Llaverias continued her quiet, but effective, contribution to the Lady Gaucho cause with another dogged performance on the defensive end of the floor. Llaverias normally draws the difficult assignments inside, and her close guarding help to hold Allen to only 12 points. She also added five points of her own.
“Angela did another great job for us,” noted Sack as his team finished 16-13 after a rigorous schedule this season. “We have spent a lot of time in the East Bay, and they play this kind of tough defense here.”
The contest was played without a shot clock as the officials at Clayton Valley did not know how to operate a new two-week-old scoreboard for girls play. The announcer counted down the final 15 seconds on each possession.
Senior shooting guard Lexie Schloetter had an off night as she was pushed outside the normal perimeter with only one point after a solid double-digit performance against Washington. Maegan Burke had some good moments at a guard position for Casa against the constant full court press.
Clayton Valley (21-6) advances to host Montgomery in one semifinal game on Wednesday. Powerful Carondelet plays Dublin in another semifinal across town on the same night.
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