Don Smith peeked at the shooting stats quickly after the game. They weren't pretty.
"Horrible shooting game," the Chowchilla High girls basketball coach said.
He wasn’t lying.
The Tribe made just 3 of 32 shots from beyond the three-point line and finished 11 of 52 from the floor. Chowchilla made up for it on the defensive end, limiting Mariposa to just 10 made baskets as the Tribe (18-12) won 43-25 in a defensive battle on the road in the first round of the Northern California Regional Division V playoffs on Wednesday night.
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"I told the girls at halftime, defense is going to win this game," Smith said. "I felt we had to tighten up in the second half. Even though we only gave up 12 points in the first half, eight of those points I wasn't happy with us giving up."
Both teams stayed back in a zone and forced the other team to score from outside.
The No. 8 seed Grizzlies made just 10 of 50 shots from the floor and four of 20 from the free throw line. Add 25 turnovers and you have a recipe for a 25-point night.
"Shots just weren't falling," said Mariposa junior Milea Appling, who finished with a game-high 14 points to go along with 14 rebounds and five steals. "I don't think we've ever had a game where our shots just weren't there. (Chowchilla) played aggressive defense."
After winning their first Central Section championship since 1987 last week, Chowchilla (18-12) thought it had earned at least a home game in the first round of the regional playoffs.
They were surprised and a little upset when they found out they were a nine seed and had to open on the road. Especially when the team the Tribe beat to win the Valley Championship (Firebaugh) was given an 8 seed in the Southern bracket and given a home game.
So Chowchilla made the trip to Mariposa with a chip on their shoulder.
"We were upset," said Tribe senior Alison Cargill, who finished with a team-high 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals. "It lit a fire for us. We felt we deserved a better seed and a home game at least."
"We talked about it and I told them we had to come out with a grudge," Smith said. 'It was up to us to prove they were wrong."
One of the reasons Chowchilla ended up on the road was a 38-35 loss to Mariposa early in the season.
The Tribe showed they aren't the same team the Grizzlies played back on December 1.
"We're diferent, we're a way different team from the beginning of the year," Cargill said. "We're different because of our defense. We run a press now. We've come a long way."
The Tribe started pulling away late in the third quarter. Cargill scored inside and then drew a foul after a steal and hit one of two free throws to give Chowchilla 19-15 lead with 2:18 left in the third.
Pria Cooper came up with a steal and scored and then Priscilla Foster drained a big 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Tribe a 24-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
With Chowchilla leading 29-19 midway through the fourth quarter, Mariposa coach Trace DeSandres opted to foul the rest of the way to try to get back in the game.
The Tribe shot 20 free throws in the final 3:19 of the game and made 14 of them to pull away. Kiley Garvey went 6-of-10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to help her finish with 9 points for Chowchilla.
Eight different Chowchilla players scored compared to just three players for Mariposa (23-8).
The Tribe advance to the second round on Saturday when they'll travel to San Fransisco to face No. 1 seed University (21-9), which defeated No. 16 Western Sierrra Collegiate Academy 53-18 on Wednesday. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Chowchilla's dream season continues.
"This is truly a special group," Smith said. "Our book is not all the way written. Every day is a new page, whether it's a practice or a game. We want to continue writing this book."