Piedmont High's girls basketball team – all the way from Alameda County – took the four-hour drive to Lompoc to hold off the host team Lompoc Braves 56-44 on Thursday in the opener of the Bryan Ayer Classic.
The Highlanders struggled to get their 3-point game going early on, missing their first four shots. However, Piedmont went to the fast break to close out the first quarter – scoring four points to help end the first quarter with the 12-6 lead.
Danielle Morgan got the second quarter going with her 3-pointer, cutting the lead to 12-9. But Piedmont – 12-16 overall one year ago and has had nine seasons of 20 victories or more under veteran head coach Bryan Gardere – started to knock down its baskets and build a 23-point lead.
The Highlanders not only went to the fast break, but started to find their 3-point rhythm through Kristen Seyranian – as she knocked down four long range baskets to help balloon the lead to 35-14. Piedmont closed the first half on a 30-8 run.
Lompoc, however, showed its resolve by clamping down on the 3-point plays and turning to its top scoring options against the Bay Area foe. Head coach Claudia Terrones admitted it was difficult to prepare for a team she and the Braves weren’t too familiar with, but ultimately adjusted to their style of play.
“I tried to do a little research on that team, but when you’re playing them for the first time, it was hard to find film on them. So you just never know,” Terrones said. “But we learned early in the first quarter that they had outside shooters. What we tried to do was extend our 3-2 a little bit – and the girl who usually was at the top kind of sinked into the middle. I think we adjusted well.”
Seyranian had 15 first half points to lead the Highlanders. Megan Tang added six points in the first half. Morgan led the Braves with six first half points.
Lompoc (0-1) outscored the Highlanders 15-11 to close out the third quarter. The Braves wound up outscoring the Highlanders 30-21 in the second half. Gardere said he had a feeling this non-league game would be a tough one.
“They did a great job. We knew they would be well coached and we knew they would play hard,” Gardere said. “We shot the ball well early, but we knew they weren’t going to go away.”
Piedmont assistant Kenny Evans had a homecoming. Evans graduated from LHS in 1992.
Lompoc returns home to face Pioneer Valley on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the second day of the tournament.
Santa Barbara 71, Pioneer Valley 21
The Panthers fell in the first game of the Bryan Ayer Classic on Thursday.
A running clock went into effect in the fourth quarter, as the Dons took a 60-19 lead in the fourth quarter.
Leticia Medina led the Panthers with nine points. Zury Martinez added four points.
Cabrillo 72, Desert Mirage 15
The defending Los Padres League champions started the year with a 57-point thrashing down in the Coachella Valley Tournament.
Erin Jenkins, last year’s Lee Central Coast Newspapers’ All-Area Most Valuable Player, led the way with 13 points. Brittney McCune added 12 points for the Conquistadores while Alyssa Stewart chipped in 12 points. Cabrillo had 10 players get on the scoring stat sheet against Desert Mirage.
Cabrillo 65, Nordhoff 46
The Conquistadores bounced back from their opening loss in the Nordhoff Tournament with a 19-point victory down in Ojai on Thursday night.
LeAndrew Knight led CHS with 28 points.
Lompoc 4, St. Joseph 0
Lompoc got in the win column for the first time this season with the shutout against the Knights.
J.D Montelongo, Martin Meloro, Anthony Morales and Elijah Malcolm all scored for the Braves, who are now 1-1 on the year.