By Bill Tamburrino
Ramona High girls basketball team remained undefeated last week in the Valley League, ending the second week of play in first place with a 4-0 record.
The Bulldog girls beat Valley Center in their tune-up for a showdown with Del Norte.
In the showdown, Ramona used a stifling defense and unselfish team play to beat Del Norte 52-43 and take sole possession of first place.
Del Norte’s head coach, Jake McNeely, summed up the showdown after the game: “Our strength is to get the ball to Lexi (Reddick) and Caitlyn (Cole) in the paint to score. Ramona took that away from us with a tough defense. They were able to score from all over the court. Our strength is not our outside shooting. They were able to shoot from outside and they forced us to play their game.”
“Our battle cry for this game was Rebound! Rebound! Rebound!” said a very happy Ramona coach Dan Marshall. “This team is fun to coach. They play hard and do what it takes to win. Christina (Barrameda) was ill with the flu but she played her heart out. Every girl did her job on defense and offense. We took away their big girls in the paint and got the rebounds when they shot from outside. Coach Scheib’s defensive game plan worked to a tee.”
Niki Spring led all scorers with 20 points on offense. She hit three point shots and got the tough points in the paint.
Katherine Mauldin turned in a double-double. Thirteen was her lucky number. Mauldin scored 13 points and grabbed 13 boards, which was a major key in the win. Julie Ward also tallied in double figures. The senior guard scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished off two assists, and had two steals on defense. Kailey Hill scored 8 points, grabbed six rebounds, had three assists, and one steal, and played her best defensive game of the year.
Barrameda scored 1, played well on defense, and helped to break the Del Norte pressure defense.
Del Norte scored the first basket of the game but Ramona took the lead and never trailed. At one time the Lady Dawgs had an 11 point lead. Del Norte cut that lead to 2 in the final period, but Ramona would not relinquish the lead.
To say that the Lady Bulldogs of Ramona and the Lady Jaguars of Valley Center played a very physical and defensive oriented basketball game would be an understatement. Ramona triumphed 47-35 but it was a hard fought victory.
“They have played a very tough schedule and they are a lot better than their record shows. They graduated eight seniors and are a very young squad, but they are very tough,” was Marshall’s assessment of the contest. “We had to fight and scratch the entire game. We can play defense and we can be physical and that paid off for us.”
The game was tied at the end of the first quarter and Ramona’s defense got stingy. The Lady Dawgs outscored Valley Center 18-2 in the second quarter and led 33-17 at intermission.
Turnabout is fair play. In the third quarter, Valley Center went on a 13-2 run to make it a 35-30 game before Mauldin hit a 3-point shot to end the period and give Ramona a 38-30 cushion. Both teams pressed in the final period, but it was a defensive adjustment that ensured the victory for the Bulldog girls.
Valley Center’s Vinessa Perryman was carrying their offense and had scored 18 points going into the last eight minutes. Coach Ken Scheib had his team put on a special defensive adjustment that doubled up on Perryman, and the maneuver worked as Ramona’s defense limited her to just 4 points and the Valley Center team just 5 points in the period.
Mauldin led the Lady Dawgs in scoring with 15 points as she scored from all over the floor. She also hauled down eight rebounds—six on the defensive end of court. Hill scored 12 points, working mostly in the paint where she grabbed nine rebounds and dished off two assists. Ward scored 8 points and grabbed seven boards as she led the team with five assists. Spring and Barrameda each contributed 5 points to the offense, and Ashlyn Savage scored 2 points. Kylee Scheib, Hannah Farhat and Kara Banegas played well on defense.
The Bulldogs girls go on the road for two weeks and will play their final regular season home game on Senior Night, Feb. 12.