Shoes clad in yellow ribbons to commemorate the death of Pre-K teaching assistant Ariyana Jones, the girls’ varsity basketball team fell to Div. IV Natomas, 43-48, on Dec. 6.
“There were many people involved (in the yellow-ribbon arrangement),” coach Latonia Pitts said. “Ariyana was a good friend of mine, so it is very meaningful for my players to represent her.”
Only six players showed at the beginning of the game, and junior Yasmin Gupta fouled out in the last minute of the fourth quarter, leaving the minimum five people on the court.
Senior Alexa Mathisen was out due to an ankle injury, sophomore Bella Mathisen opted to play in the JV game, and freshman Briana Davies is still recovering from a knee injury suffered during volleyball earlier this year.
Junior Annya Dahmani said that the loss was largely due to the missing teammates.
“It would have been a totally different game if we had all of our players,” she said.
However, according to Dahmani and Johnson, the lack of members wasn’t the sole reason for the loss.
“We missed a lot of free throws, and we let them get a lot of offensive rebounds that we definitely should have had,” Dahmani said.
“We threw away balls that came from a good rebound, so we weren’t handling the ball that well,” junior Katia Dahmani said.
Sophomore Heidi Johnson agreed.
“We worked really hard to get rebounds and fight for the ball, but would then throw it away with a bad pass or turnover,” she said.
There were eight turnovers in the first quarter.
According to Johnson, missed layups were another big problem.
Despite the faults there were several bright spots.
“We swung the ball, got rebounds and kept our energy throughout the game,” Johnson said.
“They had one girl who was especially good, a fast dribbler who drove hard to the basket, but we were able to guard her better later in the game.”
However, aside from the disappointment of a loss, Johnson was optimistic.
“This was a good challenge that will help us when we get to the league games,” Johnson said.
The girls’ next game is Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. against Delta High School.