CLOVIS – In their recent matchup, Sierra High countered Sanger High’s points record holder with a three-pronged scoring attack in the opening round of the Old Town Clovis Kiwanis Classic girls basketball tournament.
The Division II Chieftains (8-6) blitzed the Division III Apaches (8-6) early with seven first-half 3-point baskets – four in the opening quarter – and held off another big night by Krista Sheaffer to post a wire-to-wire 63-57 victory at Buchanan High main gym on Dec. 21. In the process, it snapped a three-game win streak for Sanger.
First-year Sanger head coach Fidel Alva said the fast hot-shooting start and pivotal outside shooting proved to be too much for the team to overcome.
“I think we did a good job of making that adjustment in the second half until the very end, when they made about two or three big three-pointers,” said Alva, a special education teacher at SHS. “We just struggled to clean up the boards in the fourth quarter at the end. Against these good teams, if you don’t box out and take care of your assignments, it can be tricky.”
Sanger still managed to cut a 10-point halftime deficit twice to three points, and had a couple of possessions with an opportunity to tie the game. As usual, senior forward-center Sheaffer powered the offense with a game-high 38 points. The school record-holder for single-game, season and career scoring poured in 21 in the first half and 10 more during a fourth quarter rally.
“Everyone throws their best at her (defensively), kind of doing the same thing,” Alva said of the 6-foot-2 standout. “At the end of the day, when you’re a good player you attract that kind of attention.”
Sierra had three scorers in double figures, led by junior forward-guard Aleeawa Badoni with 18 points. Pinpoint shooting guard Vianne Lee scored nine of her 12 points in the first half, all coming on 3-pointers, while sophomore guard Kaidence Begaye had 15 points, including a trio of 3-point baskets. Begate also sank a back-breaking trey in the closing minute to seal the victory.
Freshman guard Lucy Takeda scored 10 points for Sanger while senior guard Seerat Sandhu had six points on a pair of 3-point baskets. The Apaches closed the gap with a 10-4 third quarter run, applying full-court pressure to force turnovers and cool off the Sierra shooting.
“The pace of the game was kind of our favorite, we really tried to press and made some adjustments, and we kind of gave up some layups and it really took a little wind out of us at the end,” Alva said.
Sanger plays Hanford High at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22 in the main gym to complete its scheduled two tournament games. The Apaches then will participate in the four-day Arvin Tournament beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 27 with a 7 p.m. contest against Centennial High.