The Kimball High School girls basketball team went with a tried and true approach Tuesday night.
The Jaguars used their physicality and athleticism to pound Buhach Colony on the interior in the opening quarter of their Sac-Joaquin Section Division II first-round playoff game.
When the Thunder began to clamp down on the interior, Kimball’s Sarah Nunes fired away from the outside. The senior hit four of her six three-pointers in the second quarter, scoring 17 of her game-high 24 points to help turn the game into a 71-25 rout.
“They’re really deep. They’re athletic, and they have a lot of basketball players,” Buhach Colony coach Shane Gentry said. “They’re a talented team, but the most upsetting thing was they outworked us.
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“That wasn’t the effort I was expecting to see.”
The 14th-seeded Thunder (15-11) firmly believed it could hand the third-seeded Jaguars (28-0) their first loss.
That notion was quickly dispelled as the Jaguars jumped all over BC in the opening quarter.
The underclass inside tandem of Donwanee Anthony and Raziya Potter led the way, combining for 11 of Kimball’s 24 first-quarter points. Buhach struggled against the Jaguars’ halfcourt press and was routinely beaten back in transition off turnovers.
“We knew they were going to bring that press, but we were pretty confident going into it,” Gentry said. “I’d brought the boys team in to simulate the quickness and physicality that they play with, but we didn’t execute against it the way we did in practice.
“We really struggled with it for the whole game.”
The other area BC struggled with was getting defensive stops in the opening half.
The Thunder hit its first two shots of the second quarter, but Kimball easily answered each. Buhach went cold the rest of the way, and Kimball all but put the game out of reach with a 16-0 run.
Nunes led the way. The senior forward was 6 of 7 from the field in the opening half, with the only miss on a play where she was hacked from behind. Even then, Nunes converted the free throws.
Her four second-quarter threes brought the crowd to its feet and helped send Kimball into the break with a 49-12 lead.
“We came in thinking we were going to compete,” said Barbara Coward, who finished her high school career with four points. “That obviously didn’t happen. We just didn’t play with the same energy they did, and that’s disappointing.
“It just seemed like they caught fire, and every time we missed, the lead got bigger.”
St. Mary’s 122, Merced 33 in Stockton – In a Division I game, Symone Gilliam and Lexi Thompson led the Bears (13-11) with eight points each against the top seed and eight-time defending section champion. The Rams made 20 three-pointers.
Livingston 64, San Juan 47 in Citrus Heights – Illiana Mendoza scored 20 as the ninth-seeded Wolves (13-8) advanced to the quarterfinals Thursday against top-seeded Brookside Christian in Division IV.
Sun-Star staff writer Sean Lynch can be reached at (209) 385-2476 or email@example.com.