Bull­dogs take down Lions

High­land hits 8 3-point­ers to top East­side

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By JOHN SAN­DERS Val­ley Press Sports Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

JOHN SAN­DERS/Val­ley Press Sports Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

JOHN SAN­DERS Val­ley Press Sports Cor­re­spon­dent

DRIB­BLING An East­side player tries to drib­ble around the High­land de­fense dur­ing Thurs­day’s Golden League game at East­side. High­land won 52-27.

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