By Bonta Hill
In the first round of the 17th annual Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic, the St. Ignatius girls’ basketball team forced Sobrato High School into 25 turnovers and cruised to an easy 52-13 victory.
The Wildcats (8-1) scored the game’s first 26 points and held Sobrato (1-7) without a field goal in the first half, limiting the Bulldogs to just one point.
Maria Kemiji-McDonald led all scorers with 14 points in limited action, as every member of the Wildcats got a chance to play in the contest.
“We take every game and try as hard as we can,” Kemiji-McDonald said. “We’re not very [cocky], we don’t live and die by the [3-pointer], we just work hard.”
Hard work wasn’t necessarily needed in this contest, as the Bulldogs struggled on the offensive end and couldn’t recover from the 33-1 halftime deficit.
The Bulldogs didn’t hit a field goal from the floor until the first minute of third quarter and had 16 turnovers in the first frame.
Although his team barely broke a sweat, St. Ignatius head coach Mike Mulkerrins saw plenty of advantages in this mismatch.
“The kids [who] work super hard in practice that might not normally get minutes, got the majority of the playing time tonight,” Mulkerrins said. “We also got to work a lot on our zone defense and preserve some of our starters’ legs for more intense games later in the tournament.”
St. Ignatius will await the winner of the University-Santa Cruz game, which was postponed until today at 12:30 p.m. due to a blackout that occurred right before tipoff.
Sobrato coach Terry Smith knows his team has a long way to come, and told his team at halftime to just work hard despite the big deficit.
“The focus was to compete and do the best they could, and we improved from the first half,” Smith said. “[St. Ignatius] is a very good team with a lot of depth, and is very well-coached. They can compete with anybody.”
Maria Kemiji-McDonald – 14
Kaitlyn Crawley – 8
Tatiana Ranis – 7
Stacey Ward – 5
Two tied with 4 points
Alyssa Firato – 6
Saida Sampson – 3
Jessica Westall – 3