Her team came up short against San Luis Obispo in its season opener, but second-year St. Joseph girls basketball coach Analise Riezebos could take some encouragement from the result.
AJ Smelser, Kayla Craft and Anne Overland scored enough for the Tigers (2-0) to beat the Knights 49-43 at St. Joseph’s Hofschulte Gym Tuesday night.
Scoring most of their points by slicing through inside against the Knights zone, Smelser put in 15 points, and Craft and Overland had 11 each.
Still, Alexis Brackett scored a game high 16 points for the Knights and Skylar Johnson, in her return to basketball, scored eight, all in the first half.
The St. Joseph girls basketball team opened its season Tuesday night with a home game against San Luis Obispo.
“Alexis really surprised us with her outside shooting,” said Riezebos after Brackett popped in three 3-pointers.
“Skylar didn’t play basketball last year. She hit those turn-around jumpers (from the free throw line area) and loosened up their 2-3 zone.”
Skylar Johnson pitched the St. Joseph softball team into the divisional quarterfinals in 2017, St. Joseph’s last season in the CIF Southern Section before moving to the Central Section.
In her return to basketball, Skylar Johnson also proved she could be a force as a rebounder.
Meanwhile, Drew Johnson scored eight points, six in the second half, as the Knights stayed in contention against the Tigers from the higher Mountain League.
St. Joseph moved down from the Mountain League to the Ocean League for the 2020 league campaign.
“I really think the move to the Ocean League will help us,” Riezebos said earlier.
“It will help us get our feet under us more.”
The most biggest blemish in the Knights’ game Tuesday night was turnovers.
After taking good care of the ball early, the Knights turned the ball over several times during multiple stretches against a unit that played the quick, effective defense typical of coach Dan Monroe’s Tigers teams.
“We definitely had some opening game jitters, and that contributed to the turnovers,” said Riezebos.
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“I told the girls at halftime, ‘just settle it down,’ and they did,” said Riezebos. “But there were definitely some first-game jitters.”
San Luis Obispo came out with a trap on defense in the second half, and that gave the Knights a lot of trouble at the outset after the break.
Riezebos called a prompt timeout. When action resumed, the Knights dribbled into the pressure less, threw sharper, shorter passes and they cut down on their turnovers.
“We practiced against their 1-3-1 trap,” said Riezebos. “I was very happy to see the girls adjust.”
St. Joseph will play at Mission Prep, another former league rival, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night.
“Hopefully some of the nerves are gone and we can reduce the turnovers,” said Riezebos.
Bulldogs ready for playoffs
For the first time, a Hancock women’s soccer team has qualified for the post-season.
The No. 18 Bulldogs (8-8-6) will play No. 15 Saddleback at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Great Soccer Fields in Irvine in the play-in round of the California Community College Athletic Association Regional Playoffs.
Santa Maria 1, Cabrillo 1
Jocelyn Santiago, with an assist from Bella Medina, scored for the visiting Saints as they played to a tie in their season opener at Cabrillo.
Pioneer Valley 1, Fresno Hoover 1
FRESNO - Andrea Aguilera, with an assist from Stacy Jauregui, tallied in the 60th minute for Pioneer Valley, and the Panthers got a draw on the road in their season opener.
Pioneer Valley goalkeeper Amaya Yebra made three saves.