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Righetti's girls basketball team hit enough medium-to-long range shots to put away a persistent Nipomo squad Saturday.

Nipomo hit seven 3-point shots to Righetti's three, but the Warriors made a lot of shorter shots and beat the Titans 71-56 in a St. Joseph/Righetti Tournament game at St. Joseph's Hofschulte Gym.

The Warriors moved to 5-3. The Titans are 7-7.

All of Malia Cabigon's seven baskets for the Warriors came from inside, but Alijah Paquet hit some big baskets from medium and long range to help Righetti stave off a Nipomo charge in the second half. Alijah Paquet finished with a game high 16 points.

"Our medium-to-long range shooting has been working well this year, with the Paquet sisters, Alijah and Alex" said Cabigon, Righetti's 5-foot-11 sophomore center.

"We do need to work on boxing out on rebounds," Cabigon acknowledged.

Righetti hit its medium-to-long range shots well enough to open a 40-23 halftime lead on Nipomo, but Clarissa Simonson hit a 3-point shot for the Titans 10 seconds into the third quarter and the shorter Nipomo squad, exacerbating a problem Righetti had in the first half though it amassed a 17-point margin, kept getting offensive rebounds against the Warriors.

Nipomo opened the second half with a 9-0 run. Kat Anderson made the second of her two free throws, Leah Miller scored in transition then Simonson scored a second-chance basket on a 3-point shot to pull the Titans within 40-32 at the 5:52 mark of the third quarter.

"We've had a problem boxing out on rebounds, and we need to fix that," Righetti coach Desiree Hitch said.

Hitch chuckled. "The third quarter is our weakest quarter. I've seen a trend. We come out flat after halftime. (Our players are) young, and they've been checking out at halftime."

After their big early third quarter spurt, the Titans turned the ball over three straight times. 

Alijah Paquet stopped the Nipomo run by making a steal then sinking a layup in transition to put Righetti's lead back up to double digits, 42-32. Shortly thereafter, she buried a long 3-point shot to make it 45-32.

The Titans made one more run. Miller nailed a 3-point shot to bring Nipomo within 51-43 at the 7:47 of the fourth quarter, but the Titans couldn't come any closer.

Mishila Garcia hit a 15-footer to build Righetti's lead again, Alijah Paquet buried another 15-footer to make it 55-43 and the Warriors steadily pulled away.

Simsonson and reserve Kacie Slover led Nipomo with 13 points apiece. Starters Mishila and Natalie Garcia, along with Mercedes Arredondo, the first player off the Righetti bench, all had nine points for the Warriors.

The Titans, who are 2-0 in their inaugural Ocean League campaign, will play San Bernardino at 1 p.m. next Thursday in the Tulare Showcase. Righetti, now playing in the Mountain League, will play in the Seaside Sweet 16 Tournament that day at a time to be announced.

Righetti and Nipomo are both in their first season in the CIF Central Section after moving from the Southern Section earlier in the year. 

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Sports Reporter