The Bret Harte High School girls’ basketball team is in the process of learning how to win. A strong night of basketball against the Liberty Ranch Hawks came down to the final 22 seconds and the Bullfrogs figured out a way to be victorious.
With 22 seconds remaining in the game, the Bullfrogs trailed Liberty Ranch by one. Bret Harte grabbed a defensive rebound and pushed the ball up the floor. With six seconds left, Jadyn DeCosta took a shot that hit the rim and bounced right to sophomore Chase Silva. Silva went back up with the rebound and scored the winning basket just seconds before time expired.
As the buzzer sounded, Bret Harte’s players were able to breathe a sigh of relief, as they figured out a way to beat Liberty Ranch 36-35 Wednesday night at Bob Bach Gym in Angels Camp.
“They are figuring it out and at the same time, they are starting to believe in themselves,” Bret Harte’s first-year head coach Billy Reid said. “The main thing that you want to do as a coach is to get your players to believe in themselves. You let them know that they are going to throw the ball away a few times, but if you throw it away, you get it back on defense. I think they are starting to really believe in themselves.”
Silva finished the night with seven points, but none were bigger than the two she scored with five seconds left in the game.
“I knew that if I didn’t put the ball back into the hoop, that’s basically it and we lose,” Silva said. “I needed to make it, so we could take the win.”
The Bullfrogs found themselves trailing early in the night. Senior Ally Stoy scored in the paint for the first two points of the game, but Liberty Ranch went on a 9-1 run to go ahead 9-3 with 2:30 to play in the opening quarter. Stoy made two free throws and junior CJ DesBouillons added a bucket to cut the Liberty Ranch lead to two. The first quarter ended with Bret Harte trailing 10-7.
Down by three, Bret Harte’s offense began to click. The Bullfrogs took the lead following a 6-0 run, which was capped by baskets by Sophie Bouma and Ashlin Arias. While the offense was scoring points, Bret Harte’s defense tightened up and didn’t allow a basket for the first six minutes of the second quarter.
“I want the girls to win every quarter and hold the other team down every quarter and we’ll add the quarters up at the end of the game,” Reid said. “Hopefully, if you stop them each quarter, at the end of the game you’ll win the game or have a good chance to win.”
The Hawks tied the game at 13-13, but with 18 seconds to play in the half, Arias scored in the paint to put the Bullfrogs up 15-13. A Liberty Ranch 3-point basket as time expired once again put the Bullfrogs behind, this time by one-point heading into the third quarter.
The Hawks hit a 3-point basket to begin the second half and added a field goal to go ahead 21-15. Senior Jaycee Davey scored following a rebound and junior Aariah Fox intercepted a Liberty Ranch pass and went coast-to-coast for the layup. With Liberty Ranch leading 23-20, Bret Harte tied it up with free throws from Stoy and Fox and with 3:44 to play in the third quarter, DeCosta drained a corner 3-point basket to put Bret Harte ahead 26-23. Fox added a basket late in the quarter, but the Falcons battled back and heading into the fourth, the game was tied 28-28.
Bouma scored early in the fourth quarter and DesBouillons added a point from the free throw line following a Liberty Ranch technical foul. Late in the fourth quarter, Silva scored in the paint to give the Bullfrogs a 34-32 lead. The Hawks tied the game on two free throws and then made one more free throw to go ahead by one.
When the Bullfrogs got the defensive rebound with 22 seconds to play, Reid had the option of calling a timeout. The coach decided to not interrupt the flow of the game and his choice paid off, as Silva ended up making the game-winning shot.
“If I called a timeout, the other coach, who has had his girls for longer than I’ve had mine, would have set up their defense and that would have thrown everything off,” Reid said. “It was better to push the ball up the floor, move it around and then we got an easy shot. If I would have called a timeout, he definitely would have set something up. In that situation, you let the girls figure it out and they've been pretty good at that.”
DeCosta finished the night with four points; Fox scored six; Stoy scored six; DesBouillons scored three; Silva scored seven; Davey had two points; Bouma added four points; and Arias scored four in the win.
“It felt really good to get the win tonight,” Stoy said. “When we played them during the summer, we lost by 10. It felt really good to get it back and take the win.”
Bret Harte began its week by picking up a 33-26 victory over Ponderosa Monday night in Angels Camp. Bret Harte jumped out to a 17-12 lead in the first quarter. After the opening eight minutes, it seemed like scoring wouldn’t be an issue for either team. But in the second quarter, Ponderosa scored two points, while Bret Harte could only counter with one. In the second half, Bret Harte outscored Ponderosa 15-12 and held on for the 33-26 win.
DeCosta led the way with 16 points; Stoy scored six; Silva scored five; Brayley Blodgett scored three; and Fox, Bouma and sophomore Makenna Tutthill each scored one point in the win.
“They had some first game jitters and I was even nervous for them,” Reid said. “But they got out there and they gave it all they had. They didn’t have their legs yet. The volleyball girls just got back, we had two months off and it was tough. We had to get through it and we got through it together as a team and it worked out.”
Many of the Bullfrog players were late to join the squad, as the Bret Harte volleyball team had a deep run into the playoffs and many players were members of that team. The Bullfrogs were still without a key player, as junior Kadyn Rolleri is set to run at the CIF State cross country championship Saturday afternoon in Fresno.
“I feel that our chemistry is pretty good for being separated for as long as we were,” said Stoy, who was one of the volleyball players who joined the basketball team after practice began. “We work really well together and are building each other up. There’s no discouragement, which is honestly really nice.”