The Barons’ great teamwork and strong defense ultimately gave them the victory. The team also tried new lineups that forced the other team to play defense.
“We mixed up what we were doing in a couple of other games,” said Head Coach Marianne Karp. “I think it threw them off a little bit because I think they had prepared to see something else from us. So when we were practicing to play this game, we switched some things up, which I think made a difference in the game.”
Senior Audrey Tengan contributed most in terms of points with 16. Other notable players include seniors Margaret Tengan and Hannah Walsh. Junior Mary Nguyen also frequently gained possession of the ball and had a number of rebounds.
The game began back-and-forth for several minutes with Audrey Tengan making a three-pointer, then Newport Harbor following close behind with a two-pointer. The score evened at 4-4.
Seniors Sarah Henry and Eileen Kim proceeded with a 2-pointer and 3-pointer, respectively. Many close shots continued to occur, with both teams neck-to-neck in terms of scoring. A foul was called on the Sailors with three minutes and 29 seconds left, giving Margaret Tengan three free throws. She successfully made all of them, bringing the Barons ahead at 12-8.
The quarter was defined by intense rebounds and passes. Newport made several shots in a row with two minutes and 34 seconds left, including a free throw and two two-pointers.
Mary Nguyen managed to slide in a two-pointer with one minute and 17 seconds after an assist from Kim. At 47 seconds, Audrey Tengan attempted to shoot and proceeded to slip while doing so. The ball still went in, provoking a boisterous reaction from the crowd. With this shot, the score stood at 14-13.
With 8 seconds remaining in the first, Audrey Tengan shot another three-pointer, ending the quarter 17-13.
The Sailors had possession of the ball at the beginning of the second quarter, but Audrey Tengan rebounded their close shot and passed the ball to sophomore Audrey Chow. Chow subsequently made a layup at seven minutes and 42 seconds, making the score 19-13.
Due to the Barons’ pressure and strong defense, Newport Harbor struggled with finishing their shots.
“I loved watching our defense overwhelm them and make them frantic,” Henry said. “They started to get scared.”
The Barons went into half-time up 24-22.
The third quarter began with Walsh scoring four in a row then Audrey Tengan following behind with a layup. The momentum picked up immensely this quarter, with both teams playing out aggressive passes and steals.
However, silence fell over the gym when people began noticing that Walsh had been injured with an elbow to the jaw.
“Hannah was phenomenal. We took her out, she regrouped and got herself back in and made a difference,” Karp said. “And sometimes when you get hit like that — for her to be mentally that tough was super impressive.”
The quarter ended with Newport Harbor making three successful free throws on two separate fouls. The score still leaned toward the Barons at 32-29 by the time the timer hit zero.
Twenty seconds into the fourth quarter, another foul was called on the Barons with seven minutes and 39 seconds left. Newport Harbor continued their free throw streak with another successful shot. The rest of the quarter continued in a similar manner with fouls and free throws dominating the scoreboard.
After a three-pointer was scored on both ends, Audrey Tengan continued with four collective free throws on two succeeding fouls. A time-out was later called for the Sailors with one minute and 38 seconds left, with the Barons now having a substantial lead at 46-38. With 57 seconds remaining, Audrey Tengan picked up the momentum once again with two more free throws 57 seconds.
A lot of passing occurred in the final few moments, with Mary Nguyen making a three-pointer at 17 seconds. Newport Harbor made the last shot of the game at five seconds with a 2-pointer. The game concluded in favor of the Barons with a 51-40 victory.
“It was really nice to see Mary Nguyen hit that three-point shot at the end,” Karp said. “That was kind of the icing on the cake.”