The first big challenge in the Los Padres League for the Cabrillo girls basketball team arrived in Vandenberg Village clad in green and white – jumping out to an early 6-1 lead to stun the Conquistadores.
But the Conqs got the Templeton Eagles to play catch-up the whole night with their up-tempo offense and fierce defense, going on an astonishing 21-0 run to spearhead the 54-30 rout of THS on Tuesday night in a key LPL battle.
Both teams not only arrived at Cabrillo equipped with a 4-0 record in league games, but also were riding a six-game winning streak. Cabrillo (13-2 overall, 5-0 in the LPL) got off to a slow start offensively, by missing its first six shots. It wasn’t until Erin Jenkins swished one free throw attempt that CHS ended its shooting woes from the get go.
And from there, the likes of Jenkins, Alyssa Stewart, Jesse Jenkins and Valerie Monzon helped energize the huge 21-0 run to prevent the LPL upset. Head coach Jared McCune said that slow starts have happened before on the Conqs’ end.
“It’s funny. It’s happened to us in a couple of games this season where we get off to a slow start,” McCune said. “I don’t know if it’s jitters with playing or knowing that everyone (in the LPL) is gunning for us. But I was comfortable with where we were at. They had a couple of good breaks and we were pretty aggressive with our press (defense).”
The full-court look forced multiple turnovers for the Eagles. Even when Templeton broke away from the full court scheme, the Eagles still had difficulty with netting any baskets underneath the hoop – including the second-chance points.
“We forced them to make a lot of tough shots. And they missed a lot of them,” McCune said. “The thing I was most proud of was the way we rebounded the ball. We hardly gave them any opportunities.”
McCune was most proud of the play of Stewart, who scored nine of her 10 points during the first half – providing some inside scoring during CHS’s back breaking first half run.
“She didn’t even start today. We mixed our lineup up. I was so proud of the way she played, not just scoring and shooting, but with rebounding and taking care of the ball,” McCune said.
Stewart has relished her role on the Conqs as she bounces between starter and reserve, as she prefers to take an unselfish approach while helping replace injured starter Brittney McCune.
“We have to pick up on the offensive side,” Stewart said. “Especially in the absence of Brittney because she was a key player for us, but everyone has done a great job of picking up the slack.”
There was a scary moment for CHS. Key defender Kiki Dial went down hard on the floor, then was helped off the court with an apparent knee injury. Dial, who missed the playoffs last season due to a similar injury, finished her evening with an ice pack over her right knee.
“It’s definitely a concern. Just devastating,” McCune said. “Brittney’s injury was already emotional for us. But to have a second injury like this, I don’t know how severe it is but she looked really down. It is part of sports and basketball, but you hate to see it happen.”
Erin Jenkins finished the night with a team-high 16 points, including one basket that saw her shoot over two Templeton defenders. She was equally adept on the defensive end with three steals. Jesse Jenkins finished with 10 points. Also leading the way in steals were Stewart with three and Denisse Martinez with three.
Cabrillo returns home to face Santa Maria on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Lompoc 54, Santa Ynez 39
Danielle Morgan joined the 1,000 club at LHS – by scoring her 1,000th career point during the first half of the Braves’ 15-point win at Bryan Ayer Court.
Morgan, who is playing in her fourth varsity season, finished with 18 points. She also hauled down 10 rebounds for the double-double. Outside of Morgan, Bella Robles scored 14 points and added nine rebounds. Mya Mendoza finished with eight points.
The Pirates were led by Malia Loos and her 12 points. Sarah Perkins added 10 points. Lompoc improved to 3-2 in the LPL and 8-7 overall, while the Pirates fall to 3-3 in league games and 5-8 overall.
Cabrillo 77, Templeton 41
The defending LPL champs improved to 5-0 in league with the 36-point trouncing of the Eagles on the road.
LeAndrew Knight scored 24 points while Austin Olsen added 13.
Lompoc 1, Santa Ynez 0
The Braves further distanced themselves in the race for the LPL title with the road shutout of the Pirates in a battle for first place.
J.D Montelongo scored the lone goal for Lompoc, now 5-0 in league games while handing the Pirates their first LPL loss of the season.