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Girls Basketball

Buena’s Pressing Defense Throws Off Dos Pueblos, 54-50

Buena defenders pressure Lauren Noggle of Dos Pueblos after she grabs a rebound. Click to view larger
Buena defenders pressure Lauren Noggle of Dos Pueblos after she grabs a rebound. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

Dos Pueblos couldn’t overcome a rash of turnovers against Buena’s half-court trapping defense and dropped a 54-50 Channel League girls basketball decision in a battle of CIF-Southern Section top-10 teams on Tuesday at Sovine Gym.

Buena (17-5, 2-2) is ranked eighth in Division 1A while DP (18-3, 2-2) is fourth in 2AA.

Buena created havoc with its press, capitalizing on DP mistakes and outscoring the Chargers 19-8 in the second quarter to erase a 16-11 deficit and take a 30-24 lead.

Guards Jelly Orozco and Skyler Ramos spearheaded the defensive charge for the Bulldogs, making it difficult for talented DP point guard Camila Casanueva to run the offense and get off shots.

“We’ve had trouble with their half-court trap but the last two of three times we’ve played against them we’ve handled it easily,”  DP coach Phil Sherman said. "Not tonight.”

Casanueva, who led DP with 15 points, dished off a pair of slick bounce passes to Holly Barrera for layups to give DP a 20-17 lead early in the second quarter. But Buena took control of the game at that point. After freshman Gianna Falcocchia scored inside, the Bulldogs forced a turnover and Aaliyah Staples-West turned it into a three-pointer. Staples-West then stole the ball and went in for a layup for a 24-20 lead at 3:45.

“We had 11 turnovers in the first half. That hurt us,” Sherman said. “They stayed with the press the whole game and we couldn’t get the easy shots against it.”

Staples-West led a balance Buena attack with 13 points, Ramos had 12, Falcocchia 10 and Kadyn Mew nine.

Buena players Aailyah Staples-West, left, and Skyler Ramos battle with DP’s Amber Belletti for a rebound. Click to view larger
Buena players Aailyah Staples-West, left, and Skyler Ramos battle with DP’s Amber Belletti for a rebound. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

Kristine Mortimer hit a 12-foot jumper for DP before Mew converted a turnover into a layup, Falcocchia finished a Jenessa Ullegue assist and Ramos scored off a steal to put the Bulldogs up 30-22 with 1:38 left in the half.    

Lauren Noggle and Holly Barrera scored to open the third quarter for DP.  Buena responded with an 8-2 run to build its lead back to eight, 38-30.

The Chargers were still having trouble against the half-court press, but they managed to come up with some stops of their own, and Casanueva hit a big three-pointer after a steal to pull them within three at the end of the third quarter, 39-36.

Casanueva continued her hot play in the fourth quarter, hitting a triple and feeding a nice pass inside to Amber Belletti to make it a 44-41 game.

Buena’s Ramos made a pair of free throws and Orozco scored on a floater to expaned the Bulldogs' lead to 48-41 with 2:57 to go.

Barrera hit a three-pointer to make it 50-45, but the Chargers missed a pair of shots from behind the arc in the last minute and Buena knocked down four free throws to lead 54-47. Casanueva buried a three in the final seconds.

Barrera had 10 points and Noggle added eight for Dos Pueblos.

"We didn’t play that well, and we make those two threes and we’re up by one. That’s encouraging." said Sherman. "We have to learn that we got to come to play hard all the time, and we didn’t play hard the entire game today. They beat us up on the boards."

He added that he was "disappointed but not blown away. We have four games left. It would have been nice to be 3-1. If we do want to get a seed (for the playoffs), we have to win four games in league. That’s going to be tough because we got Santa Barbara away, Buena away and then you got Ventura. This was a very important game. This was not the game for us not to completely show up. So, we’ll have to move on."

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