The Cabrillo Conquistadores turned up the pressure in the second half of Tuesday night’s girls basketball game against crosstown rival Lompoc.
The Conqs’ full-court pressure paid off with a 46-29 victory over the Braves in the first game of a girls-boys Los Padres League doubleheader at Cabrillo High School in Vandenberg Village.
Cabrillo’s Erin Jenkins led the Conqs (11-2, 3-0 LPL) on both sides of the court, scoring a game-high 21 points while playing the point on Cabrillo’s tight full-court press.
“In the first half, we played more of a trapping defense and we weren’t getting a lot out of it,” said Cabrillo head coach Jared McCune. “So we switched to a full court press in the second half to keep their offense in front of us and it paid off.”
“We were able to break their press but it made us use a lot of time,” said Lompoc head coach Claudia Terrones. “By the time we got the ball into the front court, we only had about nine seconds left to get off a shot.”
With the score tied at 4-all midway through the first quarter, the Conqs went on a 6-0 run.
Erin Jenkins got the ball rolling with a free throw followed soon after with an acrobatic underhand scoop shot.
Cabrillo’s Jesse Jenkins hit a 3 from the left baseline and, after a Lompoc turnover, Erin Jenkins dropped in a layup in traffic for a 12-4 lead.
“Erin really stepped up tonight, she’s such a great player. She brings energy to both sides of the court,” said McCune. “And Jesse Jenkins had a great game. She scored in double digits (12 points). Valerie Monzon also played some great post defense.”
Lompoc’s Kayla Taylor later hit one free throw and Cabrillo turned the ball over but Erin Jenkins stole it right back and cruised in uncontested for a layup as time was winding down.
Taylor got off one final shot at the end of the quarter but it didn’t go in and the buzzer sounded as both teams battled for the rebound.
Cabrillo led 14-7.
Taylor scored from inside to begin the second quarter to cut Cabrillo’s lead to 14-9. Taylor was fouled on the play but missed her free throw.
“Our free throw shooting wasn’t good tonight,” said Terrones. “We were 4-for-18 so if we made half of those, we would have been right there with them in the game.”
Cabrillo’s Denisse Martinez then knocked down a 3-pointer from the left of the key, Erin Jenkins hit one of two free throws and, after the Conqs’ defense intercepted a Lompoc pass, Erin Jenkins finished the play with a short jumper to give Cabrillo a 20-9 lead.
After the teams traded baskets, Lompoc went on a quick 6-0 run.
Alyssa Grossi got it started with a driving layup. Mya Mendoza then stole the ball and raced downcourt for a one-woman fast break. The Braves then forced a bad pass and Ketara Mangino converted that into two more points, hitting a short jumper from the side of the lane to get Lompoc within five at 22-17.
But that was as close as the Braves would get.
Erin Jenkins hit two free throws to give Cabrillo a 24-17 lead.
Lompoc had three good chances to score before the half but came away empty.
Lompoc’s Danielle Morgan drove the length of the court but was fouled on her layup attempt and missed both free throws.
Lompoc then stole Cabrillo’s inbounds pass but their shot went wide.
Their final attempt of the half was tipped away and over to Cabrillo’s Alexa McCune who missed a long three at the buzzer.
Both teams turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and it took nearly three minutes before Cabrillo finally broke Lompoc’s pressure, which led to an Erin Jenkins fast break bucket and a 26-17 lead.
Then Cabrillo’s defense took over.
Lompoc (6-7, 1-2) was held to four points in the quarter – two free throws apiece by Mendoza and Morgan.
“Mya did a good job, remember she’s only a freshman and you have to give Cabrillo credit – they did a good job of shutting down Danielle. We’re still making too many mistakes but we’ll get better. The next time we see them, we’ll be different.”
Cabrillo began to pull away with 11 points in the third, including 3-pointers by Erin Jenkins and McCune for a 35-21 lead.
Cabrillo’s tough defense held Lompoc to eight fourth-quarter points while their offense began to slow things down to eat up the clock. The Conqs still scores 11 in the fourth to keep their LPL record perfect.
“We expect that coach Claudia will always have her team prepared, she always has them amped up,” said McCune. “They always give us a battle. I’m proud of our girls for the way they defended home court.”