It’s Davis High at Monterey Trail …
Tuesday night should decide the Delta Valley Conference girls basketball title.
For the Lady Blue Devils, the task will be difficult — going into a higher-ranked school’s gym in an attempt to break a deadlock at the top of the league standings.
Mix in the fact that the Mustangs beat DHS, 71-61, earlier this season at The Cage, and the locals know they have some work to do.
But second-year varsity coach Karen Foster believes her Devils (20-4, 7-1) are up to the task.
“(We) have been working hard on the court,” Foster told The Enterprise. “Our help-side defense has greatly improved and our defensive rebounds are the key (Tuesday).
“We have been putting up a lot of shots and working out our footwork. We need to contain Monterey Trail’s dribble-drive attack and secure the rebounds. This will be the difference.”
When the Mustangs (18-7, 7-1) prevailed on Jan. 18, it was arguably Davis’ worst defensive effort of the season.
Monterey Trail junior Jasmine Redmond was a buzz saw inside, scoring 29 points — mostly on slashing drives. Four times the 5-foot-8 shooting guard grabbed her own board and secured points.
Sophomore Tiara Webb added 18 to make up for Qiana Levy’s absence. Levy, who had been a 15 ppg performer, has missed the second half of the season due to injury.
The 71 points were the most by the Mustangs since a Nov. 28 win (72-44) over Rodriguez.
While Foster hopes her usually effective defense picks things up, she knows her 60-points-a-game attack will be raring to go.
“I am confident in our offense,” Foster continued, hoping that leading scorer Ashleigh Vandenbrink will be back in the lineup.
Vandenbrink rolled her ankle in last Tuesday’s 59-52 win over Grant. Sitting out Friday’s blowout of Laguna Creek, the senior forward said Saturday, “I’ll be ready to go.”
Sophomore center Emma Stenz has continued to grow stronger inside for the Blue Devils and Caitlin Mazzoleni, another 10th-grader, has been sharp off the bench since her two-week bout with flu.
Freshmen Anna Belenis and Rachael Allison, usually in the starting lineup, have been reliable and, according to their coach, are playing postseason-tough basketball.
Seniors Kylie Drexel and Maya Tarasenko are coming off double-digit outings at Laguna Creek.
Foster is excited about her team’s chances:
“I feel that (seniors) Tori (Powell) and Ashleigh have set the standard for this team and we are confident in our ability. Both captains are emissaries for our program and style of play. Their experience will carry us through.”
Game time at MTHS is 7 p.m.
Notes: The Sac-Joaquin Section power rankings released Monday had DHS rated seventh and Monterey Trail sixth. Both schools moved up a notch since last week. At 20-4, the Devils are assured of a postseason berth. Two wins this week should set the locals up for at least one playoff home game. “The girls are ready for playoffs,” Foster says. “All these girls play a lot of basketball and have been in big games before. All 16 members of this team have heart and desire and this, coupled with our effort and determination, will allow us to give our best effort. Yes, we have young players on our team, but Ashleigh and Tori have been mentoring them and (the rest of the team) is as poised as my captains.” … What was Davis’ scoreboard-worst defensive outing? Remember the Dec. 8 championship game of the Dorothy Speck Memorial Tournament? Miramonte waxed the hometowners, 84-41. In retrospect, don’t feel too bad. The Matadors (21-1) are ranked 12th in California and 33rd in the United States. By the way, sporting four freshmen — three of whom start — Miramonte is expected to be back for the Speck Tournament this December.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8047.