IN SPORTS: HAWKS PRE­VAIL IN GIRLS BAS­KET­BALL

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Bush NEWS-SEN­TINEL SPORTS WRITER

GALT — Many Lib­erty Ranch girls bas­ket­ball play­ers were of­fen­sive spark plugs.

Raina Sal­divar came on strong on of­fense for the Galt squad.

But in the end, Lib­erty Ranch posted a 49-26 win over Galt in a Sierra Val­ley Con­fer­ence game at War­rior Gym on Wed­nes­day. This was the first meet­ing be­tween the two ri­vals in con­fer­ence play; Galt will play at Lib­erty Ranch on Fri­day, Jan. 25.

For­ward Court­ney Six nailed three 3-point­ers for Lib­erty Ranch (1-1 in the SVC, 9-9) in the early min­utes of the first quar­ter. That led to the Hawks tak­ing a 22-7 lead over Galt (0-2 in the SVC, 9-10). Blend her shoot­ing touch with the Hawks’ de­fenses that was mostly a 2-3 set but at times changed to a half-court that forced the War­riors into many turnovers.

“We like the zone de­fense,” said Lib­erty Ranch in­terim head coach Sean Duryee. “The girls prac­tice it a lot. Forces a lot of turnovers for us. Try to mix it up a lit­tle to keep our op­po­nents guess­ing.”

In ad­di­tion to turnovers, Galt was un­able to gen­er­ate ex­tra touches on the bas­ket­ball in terms of of­fen­sive re­bounds. That is be­cause the Hawks’ front court play­ers of Six, Nicole Sch­wed­helm and Olivia Klotz were too busy pulling down boards, then shift­ing the ball into the hands of Nel­son, a se­nior guard.

“I re­spect their game,” said Galt coach An­gela DaPrato of Lib­erty Ranch. “We had a tri­an­gle to­day. We had some peo­ple play­ing man, went to a 2-3 and a 3-2. We were try­ing dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions to give Lib­erty some prob­lems. But it is a prob­lem when Lib­erty has an in­side and out­side shoot­ers.”

Lib­erty Ranch’s of­fense, how­ever, came to al­most a stand-still in the se­cond quar­ter. The Hawks had missed shots, if not com­mit­ted turnovers thanks to Galt’s de­fense. That gave some hope to the War­riors in terms of try­ing to cut their ri­val’s lead, but Lib­erty Ranch en­joyed a 27-11 half­time lead.

Sal­divar, a sopho­more who had been out with an in­jury for three weeks, was a scor­ing ma­chine for Galt in the third quar­ter. She was re­spon­si­ble for the War­riors’ first seven points that led to a 33-18 score; she scored 10 of her game-high 17 points dur­ing that time. Sal­divar, a shoot­ing guard, was moved to point guard when Han­nah Aguirre re­cently went down with an in­jury.

“Raina, typ­i­cally, gets into dou­ble-dig­its,” DaPrato said. “Not only does she come back af­ter be­ing out for three weeks, then she had to play point guard. I have a lot of con­fi­dence in her (Sal­divar) about her abil­i­ties to take it

to the hole, about her abil­i­ties about shoot­ing it.”

But the Hawks re­ceived scor­ing from Olivia Nel­son (game-high 12 points), plus Tori Azevedo (10 points) and cen­ter Ash­ley Kir­byson in the same quar­ter to main­tain their lead, which was 37-22 en­ter­ing the fi­nal quar­ter.

“We wanted to work on just play­ing to­gether as a team,” Duryee said. “Come out strong, give dif­fer­ent looks for dif­fer­ent peo­ple. En­cour­age them to take the open shots, try­ing to build their con­fi­dence as we move deeper into the sea­son.”

Both teams en­tered Wed­nes­day’s game hov­er­ing at .500 records. Each coach feel that their teams can still play their games af­ter each deal­ing with a share of in­jured play­ers and ill­nesses go­ing back to De­cem­ber.

“I think our record doesn’t re­flect how hard the girls have played,” said Duryee, whose Hawks have lost four of their last five games by six or less points.

Nel­son, who had a team-high 12 points, scored half of her points in the fourth quar­ter. Be­hind her and Azevedo in scor­ing for Lib­erty Ranch was Six with nine points, which were all her 3-point­ers. Gio­vanna Parino had five points, Klotz and Kir­byson four each and Sch­wed­helm three.

Next to Sal­divar in scor­ing for Galt was Ha­ley Sanchez with six points. War­rior for­wards Jes­sica McAl­lis­ter and Kaya Weaver played roles in mov­ing the ball in­side the paint and ei­ther took shots or kicked it out to Sal­divar, Ju­lia Baffa and Madi­son Petersen.

Lib­erty Ranch con­tin­ues con­fer­ence ac­tion against Rose­mont of Sacra­mento at The Hawks Nest on Fri­day. Galt will play at de­fend­ing SVC cham­pion Union Mine, also on Fri­day.

MIKE BUSH/NEWS-SEN­TINEL

Lib­erty Ranch cen­ter Kloey Calkins (25) bat­tles for the re­bound with Galt's Ju­lia Baffa (1), Jes­sica McAl­lis­ter (in front of team­mate Raina Sal­divar, 21) and Ha­ley Sanchez (22) while Galt's Kaya Weaver (20) watches in the se­cond quar­ter of Wed­nes­day's SVC game at War­rior Gym.

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