ELK GROVE — When the two best girls basketball teams in the Delta Valley Conference matched up Tuesday at Monterey Trail, the showdown lived up to expectations.
But, in a game that wasn’t decided until the closing moments, the Mustangs held off the visiting Lady Blue Devils, 54-51.
The two squads both entered the contest at 3-0 in league play and, with the result, DHS fell to 13-7 while Monterey Trail improved to 12-9.
“(The DVC championship) will absolutely come down to us or them,” said Devil coach Karen Foster. “I know we can get them when we play them again at home.
“They play a real slowdown game so we have to adjust to that.”
The matchup came down to the wire as Davis called a timeout with just under 10 seconds to play, trailing 52-49. Foster drew up a play for sharpshooting sophomore Rachael Allison, who had already scored 14 points in the game.
The locals got the look they wanted but Allison was fouled by the Mustangs while attempting the trey. She sank two of three free throws, but the Blue Devils still trailed by one with 1.2 seconds remaining. Then, a debated foul call on DHS’ Anna Belenis gave MTHS two shots at the line, both of which it made to seal the victory.
“I was really proud of my girls,” Foster said. “They are learning to battle even though they haven’t been in that many close games.”
Foster said it was a stretch late in the second period that truly cost the Devils:
“We came out on fire and led 17-10 after the first quarter, but in the second, we made five turnovers in a row and they capitalized on every one to go up 27-21. We need to avoid little stretches like that.”
Davis was paced by Katie Grahn, who scored 15 points, added four steals and three assists and played tough defense on Mustang standout Jasmine Redmon, who will play at Hawaii next season. Redmon had a game-high 18 points, but Foster said Grahn made her work for everything she got.
Devil post Emma Stenz also had to work hard in what ended up being a very physical contest. Still, the junior grabbed 13 boards and had six blocks to go with her six points. Allison pulled down seven boards in addition to her scoring and fellow sophomore Sophie Seng had seven points and seven rebounds.
Sarah Bloise scored five points and Caitlin Mazzoleni had four to round out the DHS scoring, while Belenis dished out five assists.
The Lady Blue Devils are back at The Cage on Friday to host Grant at 7 p.m.