The last time LoLo Wyllie played an official contest inside Mike Flock Gym was Halloween night as she helped lead the Calaveras High School volleyball team into the semifinal round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs. In Wyllie’s return to “The Flock,” the junior put up a team-high 17 points in a 69-48 home victory over the Liberty Ranch Hawks in the season opening game Friday night in San Andreas.
“It’s honestly the greatest feeling in the world to me,” Wyllie said about returning to the hardwood. “Basketball is my No. 1 sport and playing is the best feeling I’ve ever had.”
Wyllie finished the night with three baskets made from downtown, including one to beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter.
“I felt like it was a good shot and I knew it was going in as soon as it left my hands,” said Wyllie, who also had nine rebounds, three steals, one block and one assist.
In regards to Wyllie, Calaveras head coach Jeremy Malamed said, “We know what she brings every time and she really works hard every game. She also put in the time during volleyball season to make sure she got out there and shot. Her hard work is showing off right now.”
Wyllie may have led Calaveras in scoring, but she began the night watching the first few minutes from the bench. Calaveras got off to a cold start to begin the first quarter, but with 1:32 to play and trailing 6-5, Calaveras put together a strong 9-0 run, which featured points from Vanessa Baysinger, Wyllie, Madison Clark and senior Skyler Cooper.
At the end of the first quarter, Calaveras had a 14-6 lead.
Calaveras continued to put up points on the Hawks and extended its lead to 20-13 after getting points from Cooper, Madison Clark and freshman Bailie Clark. Liberty Ranch cut Calaveras’ lead to five, but senior Muriel Strange and Cooper combined for four points to push the lead to 24-15 with 5:13 to play in the first half.
Calaveras’ offense slowed down a little late in the second quarter and Liberty Ranch was able to get within four points with under a minute to play. But, leading 29-25, Calaveras got baskets from Madison Clark and Wyllie and took a 33-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.
While Calaveras was able to make shots in the third quarter, fouls started to become an issue. With three minutes to play in the third quarter, Liberty Ranch found itself in the bonus and by the fourth quarter, Calaveras had a number of players in foul trouble.
“We had three of our main players in Maddie (Clark), Muriel (Strange) and LoLo (Wyllie) with four fouls and two others with three,” Malamed said. “No. 1, it kills the flow. We are trying to run up and down and that gives the other team to rest and it slows the game down. It also allows them to score not in their half-court offense. We really want them to have to earn their points.”
Leading 40-34 with 1:55 to play, Calaveras got major separation following a 3-point basket from the top of the key by senior Gabriella Malamed and Madison Clark followed with a field goal. Wyllie drained a three at the buzzer and Calaveras led 48-35 heading into the final eight minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Calaveras’ speed and swarming defense helped put the game away. The freshman duo of Brooke Nordahl and Bailie Clark made life difficult for the Liberty Ranch passing game and Madison Clark added fast break points. Nordahl and Bailie Clark each scored seven points in their first high school basketball game and Malamed was pleased with what he saw from his two freshman players.
“They brought exactly what I thought,” Malamed said. “They brought pace and toughness. They were definitely excited and rushing a lot and we want to play with pace, but not rush and that’s a fine line. Once Bailie learns to control the speed a little bit more, she’ll be very tough to stop. Brooke is a great shooter and a great driver, but was just a step too quick on things. Once she gets a few more games under her belt, things will start to slow down and they’ll be great assets to our team.”
Madison Clark finished with 15 points, six assists, one rebound and one block; Cooper had 13 points, four steals, three rebounds and one assist; Bailie Clark had seven points, four assists and one steal; Nordahl had seven points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals; and Malamed had nine rebounds and three points.
“We always have a lot of work to do, but that being said, it’s the first game and I’m very pleased,” Jeremy Malamed said. “I just told my assistant that I didn’t feel like we played very well and then I looked up and saw that we nearly scored 70 points and won by 21. To have all the execution breakdowns, that hopefully we’ll fix as the year goes on, and to still be able to put up a performance like that says a lot about our girls and what our potential is.”
As for Wyllie, starting the season off in the win column was exactly what she was hoping for.
“We are going to have a tough preseason, so getting this win feels really nice,” she said.
Calaveras’ JV team overcame a big deficit to storm back and beat Liberty Ranch 45-43 Friday night in San Andreas.
Sierra Lowry led the way with 15 points, which includes draining three from downtown. She also had two rebounds, three assists and nine steals; Randi Adams had 11 points, 10 assists, seven steals and three boards; Laney Koepp had eight points, three boards, three steals and one assist; Jordynn Peterson added seven points, four rebounds and two steals; Mady Bernesconi had eight steals, five assists, three points and two rebounds; Jolee Gularte had three steals, one point and one assist; Paytin Curran had one steal, one assist and one board; and Cassie Black recorded two steals, one assist and one rebound in the win.