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Fresh off of a loss to a fellow CIF State Playoff qualifier, Righetti's girls basketball team wanted nothing more than to get back into the win column on Friday night.

The Warriors used a trap defense and strong second half to avoid back-to-back letdowns, blowing past Lompoc 65-31 at Paisola Pavilion in Bryan Ayer Court on Friday night in the Bryan Ayer Classic.

It was just 24 hours ago that the Warriors – 27-3 one season ago and a participant in the Division II realm of the state playoffs – fell to Piedmont 55-53 in the opening game for both teams in the tournament. Head coach Desiree Hitch said she admired the response the girls had going against a perennial CIF Southern Section playoff contender in the Braves.

“I think the girls came out hungry – and that’s kind of good when you lose. They’re so young and emotional. They came out really hungry tonight,” Hitch said.

There were three early lead changes to start the first quarter.

Lompoc got up to an early 4-2 lead after Kayla Taylor got a two-point basket. Senior captain Alijah Paquet would respond with a long range 3-pointer to put RHS (1-1) up 5-4.

Then, Brave freshman Mallory Branum found the hoop to put LHS (1-2) up 6-5. Righetti went on to retake the lead at 7-6 and never trailed after that.

Lompoc did what it could to keep things close throughout the first half, as Taylor swatted the basketball four times to prevent any scoring runs for the Warriors. Branum hit a 3-pointer to help end the second quarter at 26-18 in favor of the Warriors.

But it was all RHS from there.

Junior Natalie Garcia went on to finish with 17 points for the Warriors. She went on to become one of three Warriors who reached double figures in scoring – joining Paquet (10) and Mercedes Arredondo (11).

The Warriors threw constant double teams on whoever possessed the basketball for LHS – regardless if it was Branum, Mya Mendoza or Alyssa Grossi. The trap scheme only allowed 13 second half points for the Braves the rest of the night.

“That’s the kind of basketball that we like to play,” Hitch said. “Our girls did a really good job of frustrating whoever had the ball.”

After two games, Hitch said that offensively, her and the Warriors

“Alijah is my only senior who has been on varsity. She can shoot the ball and she leads by example. She should be my go-to person. Her little sister (Alexandria) is coming in right behind her and playing really well. Then I’ve got Malia Cabigon. So between those girls and Merecedes, if some of them aren’t on their game, the others will pick them up. And when they all are good, it works even better,” Hitch said.  

Branum led Lompoc with eight points. No Braves reached double figures on the night scoring wise. Grossi and Bella Robles both had four points apiece. Taylor finished with three points and six blocks.

The Warriors have now won the last three meetings against the Braves. RHS defeated LHS 74-49 at Righetti and 64-43 in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2A playoffs last season.

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Sports Reporter