Girls’ basketball outlasts Ayala

Varsity girls’ basketball sealed a 41-39 victory over Ayala after shooting guard junior Caitlin Fu drained two free throws with 10.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter Tuesday, Jan. 5 at home.

Power forward freshman Kaitlyn Day led the Mustangs with 17 points, while center freshman Theresa Lin finished with nine points and seven rebounds. Point guard junior Jenna Pitpit followed behind with seven points and four steals.

“I didn’t feel that nervous [in the first quarter] because I knew that we weren’t playing our best game. That’s how we usually are. If we aren’t playing the best game that we can right now, then we will later,” point guard sophomore Reanna Mayo said.

The Bulldogs pulled ahead early in the first, outscoring Walnut by eight points as Walnut struggled to score to end the first quarter 7-14.

In the second quarter, Walnut’s 1-3-1 defense limited the Bulldogs to seven points and its offense began to run more effectively as Day scored nine points, bringing Ayala’s lead to one, 20-21.

“There were times when we [could’ve] controlled the game. We didn’t play as well or as strong as we usually do,” Fu said. “We were able to run through our plays, but at times either some people were too early or didn’t know what they were doing.”

The Bulldogs managed to gain an early five-point lead in the third quarter. However, Ayala was unable to keep that lead as Walnut gained momentum resulting in a 9-4 run, tying it up 29-29. With 8.3 seconds left in the quarter, Lin scored off an assist from small forward sophomore Samantha Munguia, to put Walnut up 31-29.

“Once we started running our offense instead of rushing shots, we [were able to] get good shots up,” Pitpit said. “One of our strong [assets] is that we’re faster than a lot of teams.”

At the start of the fourth quarter, Walnut took a big hit as Pitpit sprained her ankle and was forced to sit out. Throughout the quarter, both teams switched to a full-court presses as Walnut and Ayala traded baskets with each other, resulting with a score of 37-37 in the last minutes. With 31.7 seconds left in the game, Walnut scored four unanswered points off a layup from Day and free throws from Fu. The Bulldogs returned with two bonus free throws, but could not take back the lead, ending the game, 41-39.

“I feel like this game went really good for us because we did come out with the win. [However], we didn’t play our best game,” Mayo said. “But, you know, ‘You don’t apologize for winning,’ says Coach James.”

Varsity girls’ basketball will play another home game against Los Altos on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

By Haixin Guo, Staff writer

Photo by Casey Lee