Girls Basketball: Branson holds down Pearce, Convent in tourney semis

By Bonta Hill

After losing to Branson just 10 days ago, Convent of the Sacred Heart’s girls basketball team knew it had to limit its mistakes against a tough Bulls team.

The Bulls had a different idea, however, and they smothered the Cubs and forced 24 turnovers en route to a dominating 49-31 victory in the second round of the Urban Holiday Shootout on Friday at Kezar Pavilion.

Convent's India Pearce gets pressured by two Branson defenders in the Cubs' loss on Friday in the second round of the Urban Holiday Shootout at Kezar Pavilion. (Photo by Devin Chen)

With the win, Branson (6-2) advances to the tournament championship game today against Bay at 3:30 p.m., while Convent (2-5) will play Mercy in the third-place game at 2 p.m.

Part of the Bulls’ gameplan was to limit standout Convent forward India Pearce, and they held her to just six points in the game.

“I think India Pearce is such a key factor for [Convent], that if we could just limit the shots she takes, we’ll be able to slow them down,” said Branson head coach Scott Davis. “Jenna Harris and Lia Coita did a fantastic job on making shots difficult for [her].”

Branson made Convent miserable early, and the Bulls forced the Cubs into 10 first-quarter turnovers and held them to four points in the frame.

As Branson kept Convent from getting into any offensive rhythm, the Bulls methodically went about their business.

Led by Lucy Horn’s 16 points, Branson’s lead increased each period and the experience and physicality the Bulls presented was too much for the Cubs to handle.

“That was our best effort of the season so far,” Davis said. “For us to play like that to and get a win tonight, I’m very proud of our team.”

Meanwhile, the Cubs continue to struggle through a tough preseason schedule and first-year head coach Phil Galvin credited the Branson defense for Convent’s 13-for-36 shooting performance.

“[Branson] did a good job of pressuring the ball and we really couldn’t get into any offensive flow,” Galvin said. “They did a good job of taking India out of the game, and they really did a good job defensively to pressure everything we wanted to do.”

Even with the loss, Galvin likes his team getting the early experience, but admits it’s tough at the moment.

“We’re a team really without a point guard, so when we see pressure it can be a problem,” Galvin said. “For now we’re going to take some bumps, but they’re a great group. They play hard, they never stop playing and they’re going to give it all they can.”

Scoring Leaders

Lucy Horn – 16
Lia Coito – 11
Hannah Caine – 10
Leah Gray – 6
2 players tied with 3 points

Isabella Borges – 10
Jaime Hum-Nishikado – 7
Bianka Quintanilla-Whye – 6
India Pearce – 6
Gina Domergue – 2

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