Girls basketball: Turnovers and slow start lead to 37-46 loss


Sophmore guard Christina Jennings looks to pass at the bottom of the second inning when the Lady Mats were ahead of the Spartans by three points. Source: Margaret Lin

Shannon Lin

Sophmore guard Christina Jennings looks to pass at the bottom of the second inning when the Lady Mats were ahead of the Spartans by three points. Source: Margaret Lin

The girls varsity basketball team lost to the Mountain View Spartans in a close game on Jan. 25. Although Monta Vista kept the lead for the majority of the game, Mountain View took advantage of Monta Vista’s defensive breakdowns in the fourth quarter, ultimately resulting in a loss of 37-46.

“We all worked really hard throughout the game and we showed exceptional improvement and if it weren’t for slight mental breakdowns in the fourth quarter we would have definitely won,” team captain senior Nassim Moallem said. “We deserved to win this game but thankfully now we know to keep pushing and so it won’t happen again.”

The first quarter started out slow for the Lady Mats, who had difficulties keeping possession and turned the ball over ten times in the first half. However, the Matadors did manage to make three baskets in the first quarter–scored by Moallem, junior Tiffany Tsai and sophomore Christina Jennings.

Though they were able to break the Spartans’ press, the Matadors had trouble shooting under pressure and made four unsuccessful shots. The comparatively faster Mountain View only led the scoreboard in the number of fouls— six — by halftime during the first half, and played aggressively but without any real strategy.

The Lady Mats connected passes and shot better under pressure during the second quarter. At around a minute and a half into the second quarter, senior Megan Tsao put in a shot off a rebound. Although the Spartans were more aggressive than the Lady Mats, Monta Vista came out on top at halftime. The Spartans only were able to make 5 shots by halftime.

The Matadors started off the second half much more energized than the first, and about a minute in, Moallem scored two points off a free throw and struck again only a minute later, when she assisted junior Stephanie Jennings to make another shot. The Lady Mats benefited from Moallem once again about six minutes into the third quarter, when she took possession of the ball after an unsuccessful Mountain View shot.

Monta Vista’s defense also became much stronger and involved in the second half as they worked quickly to turn over the ball. By comparison, the Spartans struggled with a weaker defense, allowing the Lady Mats to take shots. Although they began to pick up the pace, Monta Vista held onto the lead into the fourth quarter.

“I thought we competed hard against a pretty good team,” Assistant Coach Martin Jennings said. “We cut down on our turnovers from the first game and we played some good defense.”

However, Monta Vista lost its minor lead over Mountain View five minutes into the last quarter, and were unable to recover. The Spartans took advantage of a hole in the Lady Mats’ defense, and scored twice within the last five minutes. Discouraged, the Lady Mats failed to regain their footing and the Spartans took home the win.

“If we’re down by two points like when we lost our lead, we don’t fight back and that can’t happen. We need to think ‘no, we’re going to get it back; we’re going to win no matter what,’” Maollem said. “Rather than ‘oh we’re already losing; what’s the point?’ because that’s bad and we’re not a bad team–I promise!”

Jennings adds, “[We will work on] recognizing what the other team wants to to with the ball, trying to take that away maybe a little bit better on Monday at practice”.

The Lady Matadors will be playing the Homstead Mustangs at 6:15 pm on Friday February 1.