By Bill Tamburrino
Ramona’s girls basketball team beat Rancho Bernardo High School and lost to Westview High School in two close and physical contests to open Palomar League play in the Dawg House.
Ramona is 12-6 overall and 1-1 in the Palomar League.
Against Rancho Bernardo, the Lady Bulldog offense got better and better as the game went on and the defense got tougher and tougher. As a result Coach Erin O’Connor’s cagers beat the Broncos 69-33 to open Palomar League play.
Ramona fell behind 0-4 in the first quarter but used an 11-1 run to take a lead the team would not relinquish. Ramona led 11-8 going into the second eight minutes and built a 27-22 lead at intermission.
With 3:09 left on the clock in the third quarter and Ramona leading 32-29, the Lady Dawgs made their move. They went on a 12-2 run to take a 48-30 lead into the final eight minutes.
Ramona’s defense was at its best in the final period and held RB scoreless until late in the game, outscoreing RB 21-3.
O’Connor’s charges played strong team offense and defense. Four Lady Dawgs scored in double figures. Tiana Zuniga led all scorers with 18 points, scoring most of her points on drives to the bucket. Kim Whelehon kept the RB defense from collapsing on Zuniga and RaeAnne VanTol by hitting four 3-point goals en route to a 16-point effort. She also was a force on defense with five steals.
Paige Conroy got torrid in the second half as she scored 12 of her 14 points after intermission and grabbed seven rebounds. Conroy also played strong defense and had five steals in the game.
Nikki Spring played her best game of the season and scored 10 points and hit two 3-point goals while grabbing two rebounds with two steals and two assists.
VanTol made her presence felt under the basket as she scored 7 points and led both teams with eight boards and three steals.
Katherine Mauldin came off the bench and scored 4 points, grabbed three boards and played smothering defense.
Ashlyn Savage came off the bench when VanTol got in foul trouble and filled in with three rebounds, an assist and a steal. Kailey Hill had a rebound and a steal, and Julie Ward had three boards and a steal.
“Another team effort, it starts with defense and a team concept on offense. Everybody on the team played and contributed. That is how we play,” said O’Connor.
When Westview High School jumped against Ramona, the two teams had many things in common. Both teams had identical 12-5 records. Both teams wear blue and white. Both take great pride in playing aggressive defense, and both can shoot 3-point shots.
The two teams played defense that would have made mixed martial arts fans happy. The fourth quarter was the only period that both teams scored in double figures.
The difference in the game was Westview got hot in the third quarter and hit four 3-point goals and had nine 3-pointers on the night. Ramona was cold from beyond the arch.
Westview scored the first 4 points of the game and led 11-8 going into the second quarter. Ramona rallied and led 21-19 at halftime. Westview got hot in the third period and took a 33-27 lead into the final stanza. Westview increased its lead despite several Ramona rallies, and when the Lady Dawgs were forced to committing fouls in the final minutes the Wolverines won 48-39.
O’Connor and her team go on the road for five games before returning to the Dawg House on Feb. 10 against Poway.