It was a perfect end to a perfect season for the Olive Peirce Middle School Lady Bulldogs as they took home the championship in a stunning 42-19 victory.
Led by coaches Julie Doria and Marc Boykins, the team was undefeated all season and played a near perfect game against Fallbrook’s Potter Intermediate School.
The Lady Dawgs took the lead early, scoring their first basket within seconds after the jump ball. Next came a fast break with a lay-up and then a 3-pointer by Christina Barrameda. At halftime, they had a 10-point lead, but it didn’t matter, as they played even stronger in the second half.
“What I love most about this team and what I’m most proud of is that they really play like a team,” said Doria, the team’s head coach. “They support each other, and compliment each other, in such positive ways. I couldn’t pick a best player because each of them is best at some aspect of the game.
“Because we only had eight girls, they had to be very disciplined. We couldn’t afford to have anyone foul out. We actually won 4 of our 13 games with just 5 players. So, I’m proud of how they worked together and supported each other in every game.”
“They played so well,” the coach continued. “This is an amazing group of girls. They are so solid. I haven’t had a team like this in years and I think they can do it again next year.”
Joining in the victory were several fans and teachers from OPMS who came by bus to cheer on their team.
“Everyone’s talking about the team at school,” said seventh-grade fan Trae Rodriguez. “It’s all about the Bulldogs. We’re bringing home the banner.”
After the game, the excitement was palpable as the fans rushed the court and gathered around the team.
“We were worried; we didn’t want to let down our school or town,” said seventh-grader Micaela Fields. “We came pumped up but didn’t think we would win because we wanted to focus.”
Doria, a former UCSD college player, couldn’t have been happier with the game. She was especially proud of the win because her former coach had recently died and she dedicated the season to all he taught her.
“All that hard work paid off,” said Doris. “This is what the girls wanted, what they worked so hard for and I am happy they got to see the rewards and happy that their fans were here to share the moment.
“And, of course, I couldn’t have done it without the parents. This is a fantastic group of highly involved and supportive parents. Jim Stead has really laid a great foundation with these girls. They came in with tremendous basketball skills, which made Marc and my job so much easier. This team should be a huge success at RHS. I see a CIF banner in the future for these girls.”