Better ball movement Saturday translated into better scoring opportunities for the Righetti boys water polo team, and the Warriors capitalized.
Working the ball from side to side against the Clovis East defense, the Warriors consistently got open shots after a 4-4 first quarter. They missed some but they nailed most of them and the Warriors gradually pulled away from the persistent Timberwolves for a 16-9 win in the quarterfinals of the CIF Central Section Division 1 Tournament in front of a big crowd on the deck of Righetti's Rob Knight Pool.
Number three seed Righetti (20-11) will play at No. 2 Clovis North at 4:30 p.m. next Wednesday in the semifinals after the Warriors made their first Central Section Playoffs game a success. Righetti drew a first-round bye.
The Timberwolves finished fifth in the Tri River League at 3-7 but they wound up 21-10 overall.
Trey Watkins was one of the Warriors who started working his way open, often on the left side, as the game went along. Watkins and Tyler Almaguer both finished with four goals.
"They were doing a drop (on defense) into the two-meter area," said Watkins. "Once we started making better passes, our offense started working better."
After seeing the Timberwolves bottle up most everything they tried in the two-meter area, the Warriors started using more of the pool on their attack, and that paid off for them.
Righetti co-coach Kyle Shaffer said, "We made some good passes and that resulted in easy goals.
"We missed some (open) shots, when we had a chance to really put the game away, but we made a lot of those shots. I thought it was a good effort offensively and defensively."
The Warriors shook off a shaky start.
"We started off slowly, giving up two goals in the first minute and four in the first quarter," said Shaffer. "The guys did a good job of coming back from that."
Watkins said, "At the start, we were really nervous. I know I was. We got over that," and settled into the grind of a 28-minute high school water polo game.
Righetti led 7-5 at halftime and started to salt the game away late in the third quarter. The Warriors led 12-8 after three quarters, and the Timberwolves could not get any closer.
Ryan Lucas took a good pass from Jaden Green and popped in a shot at the 5:29 mark of the second quarter to put Righetti ahead for good at 5-4.
The Timberwolves did not go down easily. Jacob Sill led their scoring with three goals, and he answered twice with long skip shots early in the second half as the Warriors seemed about to put the game away after scoring.
Clovis East, down three goals, was still in contention midway through the third quarter and Shaffer drew a yellow card after he questioned a call in the third.
Gradually, however, the Warriors did put the game away. Righetti goalkeeper Tanner Scott picked the right times to come out of the goal mouth. Not only id did he deny several Timberwolves' shots from close in, Scott made some sharp outlet passes after doing so to key the Warriors' counter game.
"I just had to know the right time to come out," said Scott. "If you do that, you have a better chance to keep (your defenders) from getting ejections (as they try to thwart the offense's pressure)."
Lucas scored three times for Righetti, Green and Simon Goldin both scored twice, and Layne Porter put in a goal.
Logan Ward, Lochan Zwaschka and Cameron Frazier all scored twice for the Timberwolves.
Dunkle beats Dunkle for CIF-CS crown
VISALIA — Her inaugural season in the CIF Central Section Individual Tournament culminated with an inaugural sectional championship for Arroyo Grande senior Delanie Dunkle and for her school as well.
The top seed beat her second-seeded sister, AG sophomore Peyton Dunkle, 6-3, 6-1 in the championship match at Redwood High School Saturday..
"This is our first sectional winner, boy or girl," veteran Arroyo Grande coach Lori Hollister said by text.
Delanie and Peyton Dunkle are set to play for Arroyo Grande's team when the second-seeded Eagles play at top seed Clovis North this week for the team sectional Division 1 championship.
Delanie Dunkle defeated Mercedes Garcia of Clovis North 6-2, 6-3 in one semifinal Saturday. Peyton Dunkle downed Claire Yang of Redwood 6-1, 6-0 in the other.
Arroyo Grande, along with most of the other area sports programs, moved from the CIF Southern Section to the Central Section earlier in the year.
Hollister texted that the Dunkles were headed straight to a USTA Sectional Doubles Tournament in Los Angeles after the Central Section individual tourney, with Delanie Dunkle due to play at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Southern California Championships
CERRITOS — Hancock College freshman Michele Marcelenos finished 101st at the Southern California Community College Championships at Don Knabe Community Regional Park.
Marceleno ran the 5K course in 21 minutes, 29 seconds.
The top 86 finishers qualified for the state meet that will take place at Woodward Park in Fresno the weekend of Nov. 16.
Though it doesn't appear that Marceleno will be in the field when the entries for the state meet are finalized at a Sunday meeting, "We were very happy with (Marceleno's) run," Hancock coach Louie Quintana said by text.
"It got pretty warm out there."