Wood girls basketball falls to Foothill, 71-67

National Mortgage News

| Wood girls basketball falls to Foothill, 71-67

Like many teams in the early stages of the preseason, the Will C. Wood High School girls basketball team isn’t yet a finished product.

But with Foothill High School playing the part of visitor Tuesday night, Wood showed it’s much closer to where they’re aspiring to be following its hard-fought 71-67 loss.

Despite a triple-double from junior Devon Lewis and seven combined 3-pointers from fellow juniors Savannah Lopez and Lexi Derf, the Wildcats were unable to hold off a late fourth quarter run spear-headed by Mustangs senior and UC Davis commit Makaila Sanders.

“It’s great for us to play against somebody like that because it shows our team how much they need to step up,” said Wood head coach Brittany Flores. “I think we defended her fine. Yes, she had 31 points but she wasn’t expecting us to be all over her like we were and I think my team adjusted well. She gave us a good eye opener in terms of what can happen later in the season and what our team can aspire to be.”

The Wildcats (3-2) overcame the size disadvantage by connecting on 12-of-33 3-pointers, collecting eight offensive rebounds and recording 18 steals. But the Mustangs (5-0), who are ranked No. 30 in the state according to MaxPreps, were able to score in waves and managed to deliver the final blow courtesy of a 24-point offensive output in the final quarter.

In the eyes of coach Flores, the ability to finish strong is something the Wildcats will need to master if they’d like to build on last season’s second place finish in the Monticello Empire League. Friday, Wood fell in similar fashion to Edison High School 64-59. This go around, Flores was pleased with the intensity her team played with as they climbed their way back into the non-league contest.

“When we did go down, I as a coach didn’t have to say anything because my five players on the court stepped up and that’s what you want to see as a coach,” she said. “Although we lost, they battled late and showed the maturity level that we picked up during the offseason and after last year’s playoff loss.”

After facing a 36-34 deficit at the half, Wood’s Lopez nailed two 3-pointers and sophomore Crystal Carroll and senior Jaelyn Lockhart connected on a pair of trips from the charity stripe going 2-for-2 respectively for the 53-47 edge with one quarter left to play.

Foothill senior Oksana Gorkavchuk’s efficiency from long range and Sanders’ ability to get to the hoop made the difference, with the Mustangs also registering a few too many second chance points in the final quarter to take a commanding 69-62 lead following a Gorkavchuk 3-pointer. Wood’s Lopez added a last minute floater and Derf connected on one last three-pointer in the waning moments but the Wildcats were unable to prevail in the comeback attempt.

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Although Wood was unable to get the win on their home hardwood, the second-year head coach was excited to see the poised leadership and relentless effort provided from Lewis, who finished with 11 points, 15 assists, 10 steals and three blocks.

“(Devon) showed me that she’s ready to step up and is ready to be a junior leader on this team,” Flores said. “Every game in and out, she knows that she needs to step up. She doesn’t care about her stats and doesn’t even ask about them, and that’s one of the many great things about her.”

Wood’s Kierra Major added 11 points and a team-high eight boards, while Lopez was a critical factor throughout the game as she tallied a team-best 20 points and hauled in six rebounds. Derf added 11 points and five rebounds, Carroll added 10 points and Lockhart finished with six points.

“We know our strengths and this team understands that we’re a small team,” Flores said. “For us, that means being able to push the ball up the court and making sure we shoot the ball well because everyone on my team can score.

“All other teams see when they watch us in warm-ups is a small, skinny team that can’t do much. So we surprise them. … As long as we stay true to ourselves, we’re going to do what works well for us and make the other team play at our pace while we play our brand of basketball.”

http://www.thereporter.com/general-news/20171206/wood-girls-basketball-falls-to-foothill-71-67

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