Righetti High girls basketball head coach Desiree Hitch smiled at seeing the sight of this against East Bakersfield: Her underclassmen getting playing time.

With a relentless defense and a strong performance from the younger Warriors, RHS rolled past East Bakersfield 77-34 on Friday at RHS in the Harold Olivera Tournament.

The Warriors (8-1) threw constant triple teams on the East Bakersfield players from the outset — forcing early turnovers and igniting the offense.

Mercedes Arredondo was one of the younger Warriors who helped energize her team early on. The sophomore nailed a 3-pointer and helped lead the full court trap defensive charge as RHS took a 24-5 lead in the first quarter. Arredondo finished with 11 points.

Along with Arredondo, four different Warriors reached double figures in scoring, with Alijah Paquet leading the way with 14 points. Freshman Malia Cabigon was the major surprise on the day, as she scored 12 points against the Central Section opponent.

Overall, Hitch was glad to get her younger group out on the floor.

“I was able to give my bench players a lot of playing time. They’re really young, so they were able to get some good experience on the court,” Hitch said. “They were able to run up and down with East Bakersfield and they did a really good job. I liked what I saw out of them.”

Hitch was especially impressed with the growth of freshman Cabigon.

“Malia is talented and she finishes around the basket really well. She’s always a pleasure to watch,” Hitch said.

The next player who impressed Hitch was Natalie Garcia, as the sophomore finished with 10 points.

 “She’s a good hustler. She was out for awhile from a surgery but she was able to play some good minutes today,” Hitch said. “All of my freshmen and sophomores were able to play some good minutes today. It’s exciting to watch them play.”

The Warriors managed to inflate the lead to 44-11 in the second quarter before taking the 45-15 lead into halftime. Garcia then helped stretch the lead to 59-19 in the third by scoring seven of her 10 points during that quarter. Righetti would enter the fourth quarter carrying a 68-26 lead — which led to the running clock coming into play in the final period.

Righetti’s top elder players were key contributors as well. Zane Sheckherd scored eight points. Fellow senior Kendall Bagby added seven points. Another senior, Samra Cano, tacked on nine points for the defending PAC-8 champions.

Now, the Warriors await state playoff qualifier and CIF Central Section Division I runner-up Clovis High for a Saturday 11:30 a.m. contest at the RHS gym. Like the Warriors, the Cougars have yet to lose a single game in the Olivera Tournament. Hitch is already looking forward to coaching her team against one of the top programs in the Fresno area from last season.

“It’ll be a fun game to play,” Hitch said. “They can shoot. They’re really good at defense. It’ll be a good match up for us. It’ll be a great challenge.”

Cabrillo 74, Atascadero 22

The Conquistadores' duo of Erin Jenkins and Alyssa Stewart combined for 46 points in the rout of the Greyhounds at the Harold Olivera Tournament at Righetti on Friday. 

Jenkins led the charge with 26 points. Stewart added 20. 

The victory was Cabrillo's first win in the Olivera Tournament, after enduring close losses to Clovis and Righetti.  

Clovis 69, Lompoc 33

The Cougars out of the Central Section's Division I realm routed the Braves in the early game of the Friday festivities of the Olivera Tournament. 

Clovis High improved to 3-0 overall in the tournament before its huge showdown with Righetti on Saturday morning. 

Redwood 51, Nipomo 43

TULARE — Nipomo’s girls fell to Redwood at the annual Tulare Showcase.

Nipomo (4-7) was led by Kat Anderson with 11 points. Clarissa Simonson had 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Abbey Gutierrez added eight points for the Titans.

Nipomo wraps up its Showcase weekend with a 1:30 p.m. game against Corcoran.

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Sports Reporter