The Credo Gryphons crushed the Cornerstone Christian Cougars, 52-12, last Wed., Feb. 13 in a playoff game held in Santa Rosa.
It was an uneven matchup. The Gryphons are running hot this year with a 6-2 league record and are the third seed in the NCS Division 6 Championship; meanwhile, the Cougars are a bit cold as the 14th seed. The seasonal record heavily favored the Gryphons and they didn’t disappoint.
“A year ago we played Rincon, the eventual sectional champion, and we lost by a bucket. We’ve been living with it for a year,” Gryphon coach, Paul Lambrecht, said. “So we all are very clear what our goals are and what work we want to get done this year.”
The Gryphons played aggressively. They pushed ahead in the first quarter and didn’t let up and there wasn’t much the Cougars could do to halt the Gryphons’ blitzkrieg of an offensive.
Perhaps the best representation of this was when the Gryphons’ Karina Yardley seized control of the ball after the Cougars bounced it out of bounds. She took the ball alone from the sidelines and hovered at the three-point line, looking for an open teammate. There wasn’t one, so Yardley took the plunge.
She drove towards the basket. A pair of Cougar defenders raised their arms to try and stop her, but that’s where it ended. Perhaps fearing a foul, neither seemed too inclined to get any more physical than a token bit of resistance and that hesitation let Yardley twist between them for an easy layup.
“It’s our first step to winning the division title and going to state,” Yardley said. “We’re really eager. We’re a young program and are really hoping to make our mark on the league and become known.”
The Cougars countered when their Samantha Madrigal under severe pressure hurled the ball overhanded down the court.
It was not a very accurate pass, more an act of desperation to get it away from the three Gryphons that swarmed her. The ball bounced off the fingers of Gryphon, Tessa Parker, but Parker couldn’t get a firm grip. It landed eventually in the hands of the Cougars’ Nia Russell. Russell sank the shot from just outside the free-throw line.
It was one of the few points not attributed to penalties the Cougars scored.
The Gryphons built on their lead throughout the rest of the first half and into the second. They closed out the game in the fourth quarter when Zoe Stapp caught a rebound off a missed Gryphon shot.
Stapp pulled out of the fight under the basket and retreated towards the three-point line. A Cougar defender moved to cut her off, and with two at Stapp’s tail, they pinched her against each other. Stapp turned around and launched the shot, which sank through the basket and extended the Gryphon lead by another few points.
“It wasn’t what we expected. We thought we could have been a bit tougher,” Cougar coach, Alfonso Edwards, said. “But my girls played hard, they played tough and they played their hearts out. I couldn’t be prouder.”
The Gryphons’ victory over the Cougars wasn’t their only playoff win this week. A few days later on Sat., Feb. 16 they went up against Potter Valley, which they beat 42-24.