The Tech High Titans girls’ basketball team struggled valiantly but failed to overcome the Roseland Collegiate Prep Grizzlies, 32-20, in Friday night’s game at Tech Middle.
The problem for the Titans, as Roseland Prep’s coach, Arlet Cruz, put it, was a difficulty with the fundamentals of basketball. It’s something she’s drilled the Grizzlies on extensively this season, and it’s to that practice regiment that Cruz attributes her team’s victory. “The first 30 minutes of practice we shoot, we work on form. I break it all the down to basics,” Cruz said. “I think [the Titans’] problem was fundamentals, basically. A lot of these girls never played basketball before, so their shooting form, their following through—it just wasn’t there. It’s something that takes years to develop and this is their first season.”Despite early successes, the Titans struggled throughout the first and second quarter.
The Grizzle’s defense kept the Titans on lock while their offense probed for cracks. They found them, too, when Grizzle player, Abigail Sanchez, snatched the ball from Titan player, Stephanie Landa Guerrero, just inside the Grizzles’ side of the court. The Titans fell back to try and cover, but Sanchez passed the ball to her teammate, Lindsey Arellarvo, who lurked deep within Titan territory. Arellarvo took an unopposed shot. The ball sailed up through the air and sank perfectly into the waiting net. Arellarvo’s shot might have secured the Grizzles the lead, but the Titans weren’t ones to let it go easily. They rallied in the second half when officials called the Grizzles on a traveling penalty. The penalty gave the Titans a much needed chance to reorganize. They lobbed the ball down the court to Titan player, Pinkeo Phongsa, who managed to shake all but one of the Grizzle defenders. The last remaining defender, Arellarvo, chased after Phongsa, but she couldn’t quite get ahead.
Phongsa leapt and tossed the ball in an easy layup. The ball bounced off the rim and fell into the hoop.
But moments like that were a rarity for the Titans. On defense they shone, blocking the vast majority of the Grizzles’ shots, but on offense they couldn’t keep up. Eventually even the best defense crumbles, which is exactly what happened as the third quarter rolled into the fourth.
Two of the Titans’ starting lineup fouled out in the fourth quarter. Their loss opened up a number of holes, and the Grizzles were not shy about taking advantage. A failed drive by the Titans left Grizzle player, Rachel Hernandez, in possession of the ball. She tossed a quick pass to her teammate, Emily Esparza who had snuck away from the Titan covering her, leaving her open at the free-throw line.
Esparza built on her team’s lead and helped secure the Grizzles the win.
Despite the loss, Titan coach, Carlos Vasquez, was proud of his team’s performance.
“This is my second year and three years ago we didn’t have a program,” Vasquez said. “The biggest thing they have to understand is basketball IQ. With a young team like this they have to learn is how to play, and that’s what we’re learning. We’re going to build on that every day.” The season isn’t over for Tech High. Next up the Titans face the Calistoga Wildcats Jan. 22nd.