NHS net girls dim Flashes
in 80-35 massacre
by Jesse Phelps
According to their coach, the Nordhoff girls' varsity could
have played better defense in their first round Nordhoff Tournament
game. From the stands, it hardly looked that way. The Rangers
absolutely dominated their matchup with Fillmore, using a run
of 24 consecutive points in the first half to blow open the game.
The final score was 80-35, but this one was over well before
The Flashes were hard pressed to get a shot off against the aggressive
Ranger defenders. Guards Ariane Roache and Johanna Rothermel
had three steals each. Roache looked good, adding six points
on 50 percent shooting, but her minutes were limited due to foul
"She's going to have to learn not to reach," said Nordhoff
coach Ted Cotti. "But it's a long season and we'll learn
those lessons as they come."
Guard Sarah Lagos led the Rangers with 16 points on six of eight
shooting. She poured in four of six three-point tries, including
three of four in the decisive first half.
Alexis Kenyon added 14 points, making eight of 12 free throws.
Becky Kennedy was dominant on the block, leading the team with
11 rebounds and contributing eight points.
She and Alison Bennett held down the interior on defense. Bennett
had a rough shooting night but contributed eight points, seven
rebounds and four steals. Three of those came during Nordhoff's
impressive first half run, when the Rangers used a swarming matchup
zone to go from an 11-8 deficit to an enormous lead.
"I wasn't happy in the beginning. We gave up too many points
early," Cotti said. "We gave up on our man but I don't
like to have to do that. We went to our zone. I know we can run
zone trap, but we really want to be able to show some people,
show ourselves, that we can run man."
The run was at 10-0 as the first quarter buzzer sounded. After
two Tahnie Benitez free throws at the five-minute mark of the
second quarte, the Nordhoff lead had stretched to 28-11. Lagos
followed that with a steal and a three-point shot. A free throw
moments later made it 24 unanswered points.
To their credit, the Flashes kept fighting through the worst
of circumstances. Lorriane Valasquez ended the Nordhoff run at
the free throw line, making two shots with 5:31 left in the first
half. On the ensuing possession, Lagos nailed another three but
Velasquez then scored Fillmore's first field goal in over seven
minutes off a dish from Diana Nunez, who also played a solid
game in defeat.
After Bennett and Rothermel combined on a steal, Bennett fed
Lagos for another hoop. Moments later Lagos made her third three
of the half and Nordhoff led 42-14 with 48 seconds left. She
wasn't done. She scored once more on a breakaway, which was followed
by hoops from Benitez and Bennett.
The Rangers headed into the locker room with a 48-16 lead. The
second half only offered more of the same. Nordhoff consistently
built its lead on transition opportunities created by suffocating
defense. In the fourth quarter, the Rangers switched back to
man-to-man defense, with results no less impressive.
"We're really trying to not reach, to slide our feet and
play a little more fundamental defense," said Cotti.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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