Not only was this the Lady Eagles’ first win of the season, it was also their first victory in the 5-A conference since defeating Mazama High School in the ’09 – ’10 season. Head coach Paul Bell was pleased with the way his athletes played, especially on defense. “They did everything I asked them to do,” Bell said. “They never shook. They stayed with the game plan.”
The Lady Eagles certainly played some tight, aggressive defense against the Indians. They fought for jump balls several times, and held their own under the net for rebounds. Coach Bell highlighted this aspect above all as the reason for their success on the scoreboard.
Sydney May scored 18 points and had 7 rebounds. Alexia Hall got 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 steals. Casie Johnson had 6 points and 15 rebounds. Megan Cowden and Vanessa Pena both grabbed 3 rebounds. Cowden scored 6 points and Pena scored 4 points.
Cowden dropped a cool three-pointer early in the first quarter. “That was huge,” Bell said.
Late in the fourth quarter, Pena showed calm composure as she sunk both shots on a 1 and 1 foul, which increased the Lady Eagles’ lead from six points to eight points. “That was ice in the veins,” Bell said.
But, this game’s hustle award belongs to none other than Sydney May. Coach Bell spoke at length about May’s intensity, and discussed one play in particular at the end of the first half. May sprinted down the court to single-handedly defend three Indians, stopping two shot attempts in a row before getting the jump ball with one second to go. Bell commented, “you love to see that out of a freshman player.” Bell also expressed that May was an inspiration to the rest of the team, saying “every white jersey on the floor and everyone on the bench saw her do that.”
Coach Bell pointed out that his Lady Eagles have trained hard all season, and that this triumph was not merely a lucky occurrence. “They started getting some belief in themselves and when that happens, success happens,” Bell said.
The Lady Eagles hit the road to played their next game at Phoenix High School on Saturday, Jan. 14.
By Michael Stephens
Of the Independent