It wasn’t a must-win game, but the Bret Harte High School girls’ basketball team needed something to feel good about.
The Bullfrogs opened up the Mother Lode League season a week earlier and lost in Jackson to the Argonaut Mustangs by 20. Not only were the Bret Harte players upset with the loss on the scoreboard, but they also lost something, rather someone, who is very important to not only their team, but Bret Harte athletics in general.
Junior Kadyn Rolleri suffered a broken leg against Argonaut, which required surgery. Rolleri will miss the rest of the season and her skills and leadership will not be easy to replace.
So, coming off of a 20-point loss and losing a key member of their team for the season, the Bullfrogs were ready for some positive feelings. Bret Harte picked up its first league win of the season by smashing the Summerville Bears 60-15 Friday night at Bob Bach Gym in Angels Camp.
“It definitely brings back some of our confidence,” Bret Harte senior Jaycee Davey said after the 45-point victory. “We did play hard against Argonaut, so I think some of that hustle was carried over into this game and that really helped us out.”
The Bullfrogs (11-5, 1-1 MLL) had to wait a week between the loss to Argonaut and hosting the Bears for their winter homecoming game. During that time, head coach Billy Reid did all he could to make sure his team was mentally and physically focused on going out and playing the style of basketball that captured 10 wins during the preseason.
“They played a really good game,” Reid said after collecting his first Mother Lode League victory as Bret Harte’s head coach. “They did a lot of things that we worked on during our full week of practice. Although the other team wasn’t that good, our team executed, and I was pleased to see that.”
Bret Harte scored early and often and essentially had the game under control after the first eight minutes of play. The Bullfrogs began the night by going on a 12-0 run, with sophomore Chase Silva scoring six of those points, junior Aariah Fox adding four points and Davey contributing for a basket.
The Bears scored their first points with 4:24 to play in the first quarter, but the Bullfrogs responded by going on a 10-0 run and ended the quarter with a 22-2 lead. During Bret Harte’s 10-0 run, CJ DesBouillons and Sophie Bouma each drained 3-point baskets, while Fox and junior Ashlin Arias scored in the paint.
After ending the first quarter on a 10-0 run, the Bullfrogs began the second quarter by scoring six unanswered points. Sophomore Makenna Tutthill came off the bench and scored four of her eight points in the second quarter. After recovering from a hurt ankle during the preseason, Tutthill has progressed into a solid option for Reid.
“She had 12 or 13 rebounds tonight and I told her that if she gave me 12 rebounds, that I’d do a suicide next practice,” laughed Reid. “So, I’m in trouble.”
The half ended with Bret Harte leading Summerville 37-8. Although his squad had a 29-point lead, Reid didn’t want his players to relax and start making uncharacteristic mistakes in the second half.
“At halftime I told them to stay focused and that the score was back to 0-0,” Reid said. “They had to be focused and win the third quarter and do the things we’ve been talking about all week long. They did that and we got the victory.”
Bret Harte not only scored 15 points in the third quarter, but also held the Bears scoreless. Arias and Fox each scored six points in the third quarter, but it was the play of the defense that was perhaps the most impactful.
“We played aggressive and tough defensively and we were fast and quicker than them and it helped us out with our steals,” Davey said. “We were able to get those 50/50 balls better than we have in other games.”
Leading 52-8 in the fourth quarter, a running clock limited the scoring chances for both teams. The Bullfrogs scored eight points in the final period, with Bouma leading the way with five.
Fox led all scorers with 12 points; Bouma scored nine; Arias, Tutthill and Silva each finished with eight points; DesBouillons scored seven; while Davey and senior Ally Stoy each scored four points in the blowout victory.
Bret Harte has dreams of reaching the postseason for the first time since the 2013-14 season and Davey knows that each victory brings the squad one step closer to having that dream come true.
“Every game makes us more prepared, but I think that every day we are getting better and the progress that we are making at practice is definitely noticeable,” Davey said. “We are getting closer and closer to our goals.”