Bulldogs take down Lions
Highland hits 8 3-pointers to top Eastside
LANCASTER – The Highland girls’ basketball needs a little bit of help in order capture a piece of the Golden League title.
The Bulldogs have two losses and a few things have to happen in order for their quest to be complete.
But first thing’s first. Highland
had to handle business against Eastside and the Bulldogs didn’t take the dangerous Lions lightly.
Highland knocked down a total of eight 3-pointers, which helped propel it to an easy 52-27 victory over Eastside, Thursday evening at Eastside High School.
“I thought we moved the ball well. They stayed in a zone and we kind of picked them apart,” Bulldogs head coach Jeff Sisson said. “Our upcoming opponents run zone. We’re just taking one game at a time.”
With Knight’s victory over Quartz Hill and Lancaster’s victory over Littlerock, both the Hawks and Eagles remain tied atop the league standings with only one loss. The Bulldogs trail both teams by just one game. The Bulldogs hope that Knight can beat Lancaster for a second time and that they can beat Knight for a second time to force a 3-way tie for first place.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Milana Mercado gave Highland (15-10, 10-2) an early 11-3 lead. The Bulldogs connected on half of their eight 3s in the first quarter.
“In the beginning we were
playing silly, but I think after halftime we came together. These (final) games are very important for us,” said Mercado, who finished with 11 points and three 3-pointers. “We can’t take anybody lightly. We’re always in the moment right now. We’re prepared for what’s ahead of us.”
The Bulldogs kept rolling into the second quarter and built a 27-7 lead following a bucket by Kimberly Leon. Eastside (5-7, 5-7) finally woke up and began to start chipping away at the lead. The Lions used a 10-2 run to close the gap and Highland’s lead was only 29-17 at halftime. That run included 3-pointers by Cassandra Story and Madeline Ortiz.
“My first impression is that we only took five shots in the first quarter and against a good team like Highland that’s tough. We only have six players, but those players gave me 150 percent and I’m proud of them,” Eastside head coach Gerard Nelson said. “I understand that I have to teach them as we go and support them throughout the game. They never gave up tonight. Since we got blown out by Lancaster (on Jan. 14) I’ve seen so many improvements. We’re still making some of the same mistakes, but they are improving.”
The Lions’ momentum heading into the third quarter was short-lived as they seemingly had a lid on their basket and couldn’t hit a shot. The Bulldogs took advantage and another 3-pointer by Mercado gave them a 17-point lead and five consecutive points by Leon gave Highland a 41-19 lead midway through the quarter. Bella Velasquez scored the only two points in the quarter for Eastside.
“I think we needed to execute more and run more of our plays,” said Ortiz who led the Lions with eight points. We can do much better, we just have to execute. We didn’t have many subs out there and I think we got a little bit tired.”
Azha Dickson led all scorers with 12 points for the Bulldogs and Leon added 11.
Dayanna Torres and Velasquez each scored six for the Lions.
GOT IT — Highland’s Azha Dickson goes up for a rebound against Eastside in a Golden League game on Thursday. Dickson led all scorers with 12 points in Highland’s 52-27 victory.
DRIBBLING An Eastside player tries to dribble around the Highland defense during Thursday’s Golden League game at Eastside. Highland won 52-27.