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Braves defense overwhelms Saints

Braves defense overwhelms Saints

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If a team can't get a shot off, it can't score. And Lompoc's defenders, particularly in the first half, made sure Santa Maria's shooters did not get many shots off Saturday.

Overwhelmed by the Braves' defensive pressure, the Saints had 11 shots and 23 turnovers before the break. The Lompoc girls rolled to a 66-18 win in a Los Padres League game on Bryan Ayer Court at Lompoc's Paisola Pavilion.

Lompoc moved to 11-6, 5-1. Santa Maria is 6-10, 3-3.  

Santa Maria point guard Lulu Salinas buried a 3-point shot 35 seconds into the game. Eleven consecutive Saints turnovers followed.

The Saints made two of their three shots in the first quarter. They were 0-for-8 from the field in the second. The Braves led 37-7 at the break, and turnovers set up the vast majority of the home team's points.

Lompoc scored a lot after making steals. The Braves have often made a lot of steals. They have not always scored a lot of baskets off of them.

"Not everything was falling," Lompoc guard Rylee Sager said. "Still we were finishing everything."

The Braves struggled with their outside shots, but they nailed most of their shots when they were in the lane.

Santa Maria kept trying to break the press by passing. Time after time, the Braves would either pick off a pass or, "We would make them dribble into the (defensive) trap," Lomopc sophomore Danielle Morgan, the daughter of Braves coach Claudia Terrones, said.

The last 5:46 was played with a running clock.Santa Maria did not score in the fourth quarter.

Sager finished with 12 points, 11 assists, 10 steals and six rebounds. Morgan and Cheyenne Marmolejo had 12 points each for the Braves. Cyenna Garrett scored nine.

Salinas led Santa Maria with seven points. Santa Maria guard Sarah Galicinao, the leading scorer in the LPL going in, had four points.

"Defense is our strong point, and we work really hard on it in practice," said Sager.

"Our press is 100 times better now than it was before," said Morgan. "It's where it needs to be now."

Lompoc quit pressing full court after halftime. The Braves used a variety of defensive looks, and they all worked.

"You could see we played a 2-3 zone, we played a 1-2-2, we played man-to-man," said Terrones.

"When we can mix up defenses like that, we are a very good team. Our defensive pressure is definitely getting us to where we need to be for the third and fourth quarters."

Terrones made mass substitutions multiple times.

"To be honest, I don't even check the score anymore," she said. "I'm focusing on, are we scoring after making a steal, and are we using enough of the clock?"

The teams played an unusual Saturday game because they could not play their scheduled game at Lompoc Tuesday night. The fire alarm inside the gym kept going off then.

Lompoc will host Nipomo at 6:30 p.m. this Tuesday night. Santa Maria will play at Cabrillo at the same time. The teams will finish the first of two rounds of league games then. 

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