Furthermore, with a league matchup against the Edison Chargers on Thursday, a matchup against Huntington Beach High School provided the last opportunity for the Barons to play before their Sunset League campaign commences. In this non-league matchup against the Huntington Beach Oilers, the Barons proved victorious, winning the game with a score of 41-31 on January 3.
“My hopes were to see some solid defense, some offensive synergy with our guards and use our height matchups to our advantage,” head coach Marianne Karp said.
With a team-high of 11 points, senior Mary Nguyen led the Barons through her offensive movement, control of the ball and hard work on defense, resulting in several steals and blocks. On the other hand, sophomore Karley Waite scored 10 points, resulting from her consistent rebounding to complete second-chance scoring opportunities. Other notable players include senior Dianna Burke and Malia Kawabuko for securing key points, rebounds and assists for their teammates.
Starting the game, both sides struggled with backcourt violations. Burke drove to the basket, drew a foul and scored two free throws to initiate a Barons lead of 2-0. Although Nguyen and junior Melody Nishi struggled to score several three-point attempts, with 4:21 remaining on the clock, Waite rebounded the ball and scored a putback to extend the lead to 4-0.
“Huntington Beach did an excellent job with defending one of our best shooters in Melody Nishi,” Karp said. “We adjusted by moving to our height advantage and a player-to-player defense.”
For the rest of the quarter, the Barons struggled to find a basket while the Oilers scored two three-pointers to seize a lead of 4-6. To end the quarter, Nguyen scored a free throw to close the scoring gap to 5-6.
Waite and Kawakubo’s points, along with freshman Sophie Hsieh’s consistent free throws, helped bring up the score in the second quarter. However, the Oilers kept the score level, responding with baskets to keep a close score of 11-10. With 4:11 remaining, junior Melody Nishi scored a three-pointer to boost the Barons’ lead to 14-10.
The Oilers tied the score to 14-14, but at 1:44, Nguyen maneuvered around her defenders to reclaim the lead. Hsieh converted more free throws and assisted Burke to help the Barons lead 20-16. To end the quarter, the Oilers scored a three-pointer to set the score to 20-19.
In the third quarter, both sides initially struggled to open up the scoring. However, to finally open the quarter’s scoring, at 5:45, Kawakubo assisted Nguyen’s 3-pointer and Waite scored from her rebound to bring the lead to 25-19.
Afterward, Nguyen secured back-to-back blocks leading to Waite scoring a shot. The Oilers went on a scoring run to close the lead, but Kawakubo’s one-handed layup ended the quarter with a score of 29-24.
Nguyen’s three-pointer, assisted by Burke, started the fourth quarter by extending the lead to 32-24. A back-and-forth sequence ensued with the Oilers scoring from free throws and a three-pointer while Nguyen and Waite scored for the Barons, bringing the score to 36-31.
Throughout the remainder of the quarter, the Oilers attempted to close their deficit with a fast-paced offense. At the same time, the Barons played strong defense and conservative offense in an effort to maintain their lead. With 1:57 remaining, Burke stopped an Oiler fastbreak and scored a putback shot to build the Barons’ lead to 38-31. To close out the game, Kawakubo scored a free throw and the game ended 41-31.
“Sophie Hsieh was successful in shutting down [Huntington Beach’s] best player with help side defense from teammates,” Karp said. “I think we did an exceptional job managing ball possessions towards the end of the game and then recovery with all players working in unison.
For their next game, the girls’ basketball team will play their Sunset League opener away against Edison High School.
“It’s our rival school so that always makes the game highly competitive. We have to bring the same defensive intensity and we really need to finish our shots,” Karp said. “We work extremely hard to get high-percentage shots and we struggle getting the ball in the basket. Thus, I’m hopeful that we do a better job with improving our shooting percentage from within the paint.”