Certain numbers keep improving for the Righetti girls basketball team.
The Warriors (22-1, 13-0) won their 28th consecutive league game, a streak dating back to 2016, Tuesday night. They also extended their winning streak for this season to 22 and clinched their second straight PAC 8 League championship by defeating a game Paso Robles squad 69-46 at Righetti's Warrior Gym.
The Warriors, who will graduate five seniors, made their Senior Night a success. The Bearcats, who are battling for an automatic playoff berth are 10-12, 5-8. Both teams have one league game left.
As far as Righetti is concerned, "I think we're playing well with the playoffs coming up," said junior guard Alijah Paquet.
Paquet led balanced Righetti scoring with 15 points. Ashley Reynoso played a strong game inside and finished with 12 points.
Righetti scoring leader Zane Sheckherd struggled with her shot, but she wound up with 11 points. So did sophomore point guard Mercedes Arredondo. Kimmy Buchanan led Paso Robles with 14 points. Hailie Abel scored 12 points, including nine after intermission.
The Warriors beat the Bearcats 74-45 when the teams played at Paso Robles, but Righetti's win Tuesday evening was nowhere near as easy as the final score would indicate. The Bearcats actually led 24-17 about midway through the second quarter.
They were behind 33-27 at halftime but were still within 44-37 at the 3:24 mark of the third quarter when Paquet helped the Warriors finally break the game open. She nailed two 3's from ultra long distance to finish an 11-3 run for the Warriors that put them ahead 55-40 entering the fourth quarter.
Paquet said she was feeling it in the third quarter. She had already drained two 3's earlier in the quarter before she nailed the two long ones.
"I don't even thing about it," she said afterward. "I just shoot."
For the most part this season, a productive offense has been the most consistent part of Righetti's game. Tuesday night the Warriors' defense, more like it did last year, carried the evening for Righetti.
"We run three different presses, a man press and two types of zone presses, and the girls know them all pretty well," said third-year Righetti coach Desiree Hitch.
"The girls are good at figuring out what type of press to run according to the situation and I think (our defensive pressure) wore them down."
The Warriors kept the Bearcats to just 22 points during the last 18:43.
Righetti came up with nine first-quarter Paso Robles turnovers, but most of them came in the frontcourt and the Warriors couldn't do much with those. The Bearcats ran an effective zone that had Righetti out of rhythm the rest of the first quarter after the Warriors had a 14-7 lead.
The Bearcats finished the quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 15-14 lead into the second quarter.
The Warriors forced eight turnovers in the second quarter and a lot of those came in the Paso Robles backcourt. The Warriors capitalized on enough of those to take the 33-27 halftime lead.
"We were running one of our two kinds of zone presses when we forced those turnovers in the second quarter," said Hitch.
"We get a lot of turnovers, get a lot of steals and that's where all our offense comes from," said Paquet.
After going scoreless the first 3:14 after intermission the Warriors, with Paquet's 3-point marksmanship and their inside game, scored 22 over the last 4:46 of the third quarter.
Though they seemed to finally wear down, the Bearcats didn't look like a team that was only 5-8 in the PAC 8.
"They have some talented players," said Hitch. "Sydney (Meneses) and Kimmy are good guards. They're well-coached this year, and they're good at the (non-varsity levels). They're going to be a team to watch next year."
The Warriors benefited when Buchanan had to sit for some stretches after she got in foul trouble.
Righetti will finish its regular season with a 7 p.m. game Friday night at Pioneer Valley.