The Cats headed to Los Altos for their last road game of the season Tuesday night, looking to get some separation from the Eagles in the standings (they were one game ahead when the day started) and improve their resumé for CCS seeding. And the energy they displayed from the tip revealed the importance of the game.
The Cats had five different players score in the first quarter: buckets from senior captain Sabrina Belquist, junior Ashley Poshard, and freshman Casey Brennan; free-throws from junior Olivia Lo; and a corner three from junior Carlee King that brought the bench to its feet. The Eagles, in stark contrast, had all 9 of their first quarter points from one player. The Cats were up 15 – 9 after the first.
Both offenses stalled in the second, as the defenses found their stride. The Cats held the Eagles to just 4 in the frame, while putting up 8, the most notable on a power move in the paint from King. The Cats pushed their lead to double digits by the end of the half, leading 23 – 13. Despite the lead and the impressive defense, the Cats were still lackadaisical on the boards, getting out-rebounded in the first half.
Brennan came out with a vengeance in the second half, grabbing any rebound that came within her orbit. This set the tone for the half, as the Cats were able to control the tempo and limit the Eagles’ second-chance opportunities. Early in the third, sophomore Jeanette Grasty took a three-pointer that came up just short, but she corralled her own rebound and found Lo for a shot behind the arc that further energized the Cats. As the quarter progressed, Brennan and Lo continued attacking the basket and getting to the free-throw line. The Cats took a 12-point lead into the fourth, and though the Eagles were able to cut the lead to 9, the Cats pushed it back to 12 by the time the final horn sounded.
The win puts the Cats firmly in third place of the De Anza Division, with a league record of 7 – 4 (16 – 7 overall). They host the Pioneers of Cupertino this Friday, their last game of the season and a night to celebrate the two senior captains: Sara Chiala and Sabrina Belquist.