Miramonte High had a scheduling snafu last December and Davis was forced to accept the Matadors’ junior varsity team at the 11th hour for its Dorothy Speck Memorial Tournament.
Speck organizers might want to invite those JV players back …
Showing why it was ranked as high as No. 3 in California after a 31-2 campaign last year, Miramonte’s varsity made its season debut in town this weekend and laid waste to Granite Bay, Chico and on Saturday, Davis, 84-41, winning the tourney crown.
“It was really good to play them,” Blue Devil wing Ashleigh Vandenbrink said afterward. “They dribble, attack and crash the boards … now we know what we have to do. Hopefully, we can go out there and do it, too.”
Coming in, the locals were 4-1 after a 61-26 drubbing of defending Speck champ Woodcreek on Friday night.
But DHS hadn’t seen competition the caliber of Miramonte since a visit to then-state champ St. Mary’s in 2009 (a 97-30 loss). After 16 minutes spent staring into highlights (46-16 at intermission), the Devils played a spirited second half that spoke to the heart of the Davis players.
“We said at halftime that we had to keep playing,” Vandenbrink explained. “We weren’t going to give up on ourselves. We figured out we had to attack the boards more and make (crisper) passes because they were picking them off. We didn’t give up and I’m really proud of everybody.”
After committing 22 first-half turnovers while getting just 15 shots from the floor, DHS started to put up a fight.
Matador coach Kelly Sopak kept with a mix of seven frontliners through much of the third period, but the Blue Devils found a spark in guard Kylie Drexel, who battled through man-to-man trapping heat to get the ball into the frontcourt.
Drexel and Company know a good thing when they see it, so Vandenbrink — held scoreless until the first possession of the third period — started getting a steady diet of feeds.
The result? Vandenbrink scored all nine of her points in the quarter.
Katie Grahn, a sophomore guard, hit 2-of-3 shots and pulled down three of her five rebounds in the stanza.
Freshman Rachael Allison (six points on the night) was starting to warm up, post Emma Stenz and Allison were playing tough defense in the paint and suddenly Miramonte had to look from beyond the arc for treasure.
Unfortunately for Davis, the Mats are good outside, too.
Hitting 8-of-24 from deep, Miramonte set freshman Sabrina Ioenscu in the left corner and let her pop. She was 3-for-5 during a four-minute stretch and kept the Devils far enough back before that the mercy clock ran during most of the final period.
But the spark of Drexel had ignited a fire and DHS looked more comfortable at the end.
“It was a measurement, so we know where we sit,” Blue Devil coach Karen Foster told The Enterprise. “We didn’t give up. We got down a little bit, but we turned it around and came back.”
Interestingly, Davis outrebounded its guests, 38-27. But turnovers were the story as the Devils coughed up 36 hairballs that led to 52 Miramonte points. The locals mustered eight steals while the Mats collected 28 errant DHS balls.
Grahn and Vandenbrink shared team-high scoring honors with nine each while Stenz added eight. Allison’s six and Tori Powell’s five augmented a basket apiece from Caitlin Mazzoleni and Drexel.
Vandenbrink added nine rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Miramonte’s top scorer was Ionescu with 18 (4-of-8 on threes), Megan Reid added 12 and Breanna Alford netted 11. Tourney MVP Carly Gill had eight points, five assists and three steals.
Next up for the Blue Devils is a date at Natomas (0-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Davis is then off to the Napa Valley Wine Tournament to face Tracy (2-3) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Notes: From the M*A*S*H unit: Mazzoleni crumpled in the paint early in the second period. She suffered a groin injury and would not return, but she says she hopes to recover quickly. Just before half, freshman guard Anna Belenis went to the court hard, hurting her hip. She returned. At 5:47 of the final period, Vandenbrink went down with an ankle sprain, but the senior said she was OK later. Powell was seen icing shin splints, but reported “it’s a chronic thing.” … Foster had a couple of observations: “We’re not going to see anybody like (Miramonte) in league.” The second-year varsity mentor added: “We had a good tournament here. All the visiting teams were happy.” … Blue Devil parent Rob Kingsley was the tournament coordinator.