By Bram Goldstein
Whoosh! went the net as another of Manisha Bhardwaj’s rainbows sailed into the basket for three points.
The combination of Bhardwaj’s 5-for-8 performance from beyond the arc and Jessi Miekow’s 19-point outing led Chico to a 51-35 victory over the Davis High girls on Saturday in the championship game of the first junior varsity edition of the Dorothy Speck Memorial basketball tournament.
After trouncing Galt, 52-2, on Thursday, then defeating Bella Vista, 35-23, in a more even match-up on Friday, the weary Blue Devils couldn’t quite pull off the win in the Harper gymnasium.
The first quarter — which consisted mainly of free throws from both sides — ended 10-8, with Chico a nose in front. Luckily for DHS, a soaring, apparent half-court buzzer-beater from Bhardwaj almost made it 13-8, but the shot eventually was ruled to have come after the horn.
The second period, however, saw Chico outscore the Devils, 15-2, putting Davis in a 25-10 halftime hole.
The locals emerged from the locker room with a jolt of new life to begin the second half, allowing them to go toe-to-toe with Chico in a high-scoring 16-16 third quarter.
“We were aggressive to the rebounds, and to attacking the basket,” DHS coach Kalyca Seabrook said of her team’s performance.
In the fourth period, DHS was narrowly outscored by Chico, 10-9. Sophomore Jamie Bautista made 3-of-4 four field goals for six points in the quarter.
Although they fell short of the title, the Blue Devils were the surprise of the tournament, exhibiting a more potent offense than in their previous games.
“(This tournament) just shows that as a team, we can do it,” Seabrook added.
In the championship game, Davis was led by Sophie Seng, who had 13 points, and Bautista, with eight. Against Galt, Julia Zabala had nine points and Seng added eight. In beating Bella Vista, Essence Moore led the Devils with 14 points. DHS plays next on Tuesday at Natomas. Game time is 5:30 p.m.