A poor shooting night was covered up by a strong defensive effort as the Buhach Colony High girls basketball team remained unbeaten in the Central California Conference with a 48-18 win over Golden Valley on Thursday night.
After ending the first quarter with a 12-0 run to take a 19-2 lead, the Thunder offense went cold as the Cougars (10-10 overall, 1-2 CCC) did their best to take Buhach Colony star Allison Wisdom out of the offense.
Golden Valley used a box-and-one defense with four players playing a zone and one defender assigned to Wisdom. The Thunder(14-5, 3-0) managed just 10 points in the second and third quarters combined.
“That was a good scheme by coach (Matt) Thissen,” Buhach Colony coach Shane Gentry said. “It was effective. Our ability to turn the ball over made it not much of a factor in the first quarter. Once we stopped scoring those transition points we couldn’t make an outside shot.”
Buhach Colony made just 5 of 35 shots (14 percent) in the second and third quarters, including 13 straight misses from 3-point range to start the second half as the Cougars backed away from open shooters not named Wisdom.
“I’m ecstatic with our defense,” Thissen said. “I’m very proud of their defensive effort. We had a plan and the girls executed it. Our goal was to keep them in the 30s. If it wasn’t for a couple late 3-pointers we would have had them there. The problem was our offense was their best offense. Half of their points must have come off points in transition.”
The Thunder forced Golden Valley into 23 turnovers. The extra possessions helped Buhach Colony overcome shooting just 19 of 72 in the game. Buhach Colony was able to get up twice as many shots as the Cougars, who made just 7 of 36 shots from the floor.
“We played really good defense,” Gentry said. “We know we have the speed. It’s something we emphasize in practice. But good gracious, we have to make some shots. Some of those were easy shots. We’ve had problems finishing. If we could have knocked down some of those outside shots earlier it might have changed things. After a while it became a mental thing.”
Despite drawing the defensive focus, Wisdom still led all players with 12 points to go a long with eight rebounds and eight steals. After a rough start, Kaelee Lynch hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 10 points for the Thunder.
Camille Flores led Golden Valley with seven points.
Despite’s Golden Valley’s defensive efforts, the Cougars inability to score kept them from cutting the Thunder lead inside of 14 points from the start of the second quarter.
“Our offense hurt us tonight,” Thissen said. “(Buhach Colony) is a very good team, but I think at the same time some of our players, who are playing varsity for the first time, gave them too much respect. It’s a learning experience and hopefully we can keep it closer next time.”
• MERCED 70, TURLOCK 27, at Merced – The Bears jumped out to a 25-5 lead in the first quarter. Lexi Thompson led Merced in scoring with 16 points. Oleachea Bowers, Samira Dinkins and Kynisha Turner all scored 10 for the Bears (9-9, 2-1 CCC).