It’s alright, there’s no need to panic, the sky isn’t falling. Heading into Friday, the Calaveras High School girls’ basketball team lost three games in a row, which includes a 39-point road defeat at the hands of Edison. With the start of Mother Lode League play only a few days away, riding a losing streak isn’t what the doctor ordered.
But alas, the three-game skid ended there, as Calaveras got back into the win column with a 56-43 home victory over the Lodi Flames Friday night at Mike Flock Gym in San Andreas. With the preseason now concluded, Calaveras will begin league play with a 10-5 record.
Of Calaveras’ three games lost in a row, it was against Grant, Menlo and Edison, who are a combined 33-10. When scheduling those games, Calaveras head coach Jeremy Malamed knew his team would be playing squads a little out of their league, but would benefit from the competition.
“We could have scheduled somebody and been 12-2 right now, but we wouldn’t be a better team,” Malamed said.
And even with three losses in a row heading into Friday’s game, Malamed didn’t feel as if those losses were wearing on his players.
“We played some teams who were really good,” Malamed said. “The size and skill of Edison was unbelievable. We had really good moments and we showed that we could play with those teams in spurts, but they were just too talented for us to compete with for four quarters. It was really good to have this game to have a bridge between those games and league.”
In Tuesday’s loss to Edison, Calaveras was only able to score six points in the opening eight minutes. Starting fast against Lodi was key and that was accomplished. Calaveras’ press frustrated Lodi’s offense, which resulted in five early steals.
Calaveras junior LoLo Wyllie had her shot down early in the night, as she scored seven points in the opening period and senior Gabriella Malamed added five points. At the end of the first quarter, Calaveras had a strong 19-9 lead.
“We came out with great energy,” Malamed said. “We were pushing the pace, finishing on offense, forcing turnovers and making shots. I really liked the way we came out to start the game.”
The second quarter belonged to Calaveras sophomore Madison Clark. The speedy point guard scored 10 of her 12 points in the second period and collected two steals which she turned into baskets. Leading 23-12 with 4:50 to play in the half, Calaveras exploded for a 14-2 run. On the run, Calaveras got points from Malamed, Bailie Clark, Muriel Strange, Madison Clark and freshman Brooke Nordahl. Calaveras took a 17-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
A productive first half was a welcomed feeling for Calaveras, as it had not played on its home court since Nov. 11, which was also the opening game of the season.
“This is only our second home game of the year, so we really wanted to come out and play well for the people who support us,” Wyllie said.
As much as Calaveras enjoyed the first 16 minutes, the final 16 minutes weren’t as memorable. Calaveras got outscored 10-9 in the third quarter and 18-10 in the fourth. Fortunately for Calaveras, it’s first half was so productive, the second half didn’t affect the outcome of the evening.
“I like where we are at and we are doing a lot of good things,” Malamed said. “The big thing for us right now is doing those good things consistently well for four quarters. When we do that, we are tough to beat, but we have to do it for four quarters.”
Madison Clark led Calaveras with 12 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists; Nordahl had 11 points, seven boards, one steal and one assist; Wyllie had nine points, four steals, three assists, one block and one rebound; Bailie Clark had seven points, three steals, four boards and two assists; and Malamed had seven points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Calaveras will now shift its attention to Mother Lode League play, which starts Tuesday. The journey for a league title begins with taking on the defending champion Sonora Wildcats. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m., Tuesday at Bud Castle Gym in Sonora.
“We are all really excited and motivated to pick up a win in our first game of league,” Wyllie said.
Follow Sports Editor Guy Dossi on Twitter at @Guy Dossi
Like the Calaveras Enterprise sports section on Facebook
Follow the Calaveras Enterprise sports section on Instagram