Varsity Cavs look to help freshman Heidi Johnson, as Valley Christian Lions double team her. The girls lost, 28-59, on Jan. 26.

Lack of height due to high-scoring center’s absence poses challenge for varsity girls

Although the girls proved they could hold their own without sophomore Yasmin Gupta in the 34-25 win over Buckingham Knights on Jan. 24, playing without the 5’11’ center proved to be a challenge against the Valley Christian Lions.

The girls lost, 28-59, to the Lions, at home.

The game started off fairly equal. The Cavs handled the ball well, and the Lions were strong on offense.  

By the end of the first quarter, the Cavs were still in the game, 6-12.

According to coach Matt Vargo, the second quarter was the unfortunate turning point.

“We turned it over too many times,” Vargo said, “so they got some easy buckets.

“We’d be turning it over and they would make a (3-pointer), and then that would turn into a 5-point swing. If you do that three, four, five times, you all of a sudden get 15 points behind.”

At halftime, the girls were behind 15-26.

The frequent turnovers would prove to be a motif.

During the third quarter, the Lions were sinking bucket after bucket, including some 3-pointers, and ended with a 23-point lead.  

They made many fast breaks, steals and rebounds.

Vargo attributed these rebounds to the Lions’ height.

“Their overall size allowed them to get a lot of second and third chances to shoot because of rebounds,” he said.

All of the Lions (except for the ball handlers) were 5’8” or taller. The Cavs (without Gupta) have a median height of 5’6”.

In addition to the 11 rebounds Gupta contributes on average, she also adds an average of 16 points a game.

The rebounds also may have been missed because of Valley’s 3-pointer technique.

“Valley consistently had one girl (Angelina Conteras) who would pop to one side for shots,” Vargo said.

Freshman Heidi Johnson explained how the girls tried to combat the Lions’ 3-pointers.

“We’d pop out to try to stop them from shooting,” Johnson said, “but then they would miss and get the rebound. They got a lot of points on turnovers. The people down low needed to stay in their position.”

According to Vargo, the girls were also not having the best shooting night.

Of their 40 attempts, the Cavs sank only nine buckets.

Sophomore Annya Dahmani led the team with 11 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.

The girls next face Sacramento Adventist Academy (3-2) at home on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m.

—By Chardonnay Needler

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