The girls’ basketball team used a two-three zone for the first time this season to counter St. Anthony’s speed in the Wolverines’ 74-62 CIF State Playoff quarter final win Saturday night.
“[We used the two-three zone because] they were big inside, and we needed to be able to crowd the paint and force them to shoot outside,” Head Coach Melissa Hearlihy said.
The Wolverines used a disciplined and methodical half-court offense to repeatedly get into the paint and draw fouls from St. Anthony players.
Hearlihy pointed to free throw consistency as a big factor in the win. The team has struggled with its foul shots in previous games, but against St. Anthony, the girls’ high conversion rate at the line accounted for a big portion of the team’s scoring. Also, all of the trips to the foul line gave the girls an opportunity to rest from the continuous full court pressure from St. Anthony.
Usually, the Wolverines pick up full-court, causing steals and easy baskets in transition. This game, the girls used the zone for the entire game and never picked up past half-court.
Despite a limited number of students in the fan sections, the gym was incredibly loud with enthusiastic parents yelling at players and referees. In the fourth quarter, the intensity in the bleachers and on the court noticeably increased.
A three-pointer from Teeana Cotangco ’15 effectively sealed the victory with one minute left in the game. Hearlihy subbed in the bench players and the Wolverines’ finished up the win-or-go-home road game.
In addition to dominating the boards, Jayla Ruffus-Milner ’18 finished with 24 points on a combination of free throws and contact layups in the paint. Cotangco and Lindsey Tse ’16 shared point guard duties bringing the ball up the floor against the St. Anthony press. Cotangco had 16 points and Tse finished with nine. Jordan Brown also added nine points.
The girls will play Oaks Christian Tuesday in the semifinals of the CIF State Playoffs.