Fri, Jan 28 2011 12:24 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Sweetwater and Montgomery have some kind of girls basketball rivalry going and it only seems to be warming up if the energetic atmosphere inside the Red Devils’ gym Wednesday is any indicator. Host SuHi held off a frenzied Aztec rally to claim a surreal 42-36 South Bay League victory.
The win forged a three-way atop the league standings between the two teams along with the Olympian Eagles — all with 5-1 league records.
“This was a big step for us,” Sweetwater coach Heather Huckaby said. “Usually when we play in front of large crowds, the energy makes us nervous.”
As it turned out, the Lady Devils had nerves of steel in overturning a 32-28 Montgomery lead midway through the final quarter. The Aztecs, trailing by two points, had the ball for an in-bounds play with 30.8 seconds left in the game. However, the hosts eventually managed a steal. A foul on the play sent Jessica Bautista to the free throw line at the other end of the court where she calmly sank a pair with 16.1 seconds to play to give the Devils a 40-36 edge.
Montgomery then had an in-bounds pass with eight seconds left stolen by Lucille Gleason. Bautista ended the game with a dramatic lay-in as the buzzer sounded to cheers from the raucous home crowd that quickly swarmed onto the floor in celebration.
Gleason had five points in a rapid-fire exchange of buckets as the teams traded leads in the late going. Her three-pointer cut the Aztec lead to 32-31. She capped a steal down court with a basket to put the Devils up by a point, 33-32, with 4:38 left.
“Lucille was a catalyst for us by making all those important baskets,” said Huckaby, whose team improved to 12-4 overall. “We kept our composure and we made free throws when we had to.”
Bautista led all scorers in the game with 12 points, followed by Gleason with 11 points.
The teams were tied 16-16 at halftime and 24-24 through three quarters.
Carla Flores led Montgomery 13-9 overall) with nine points, followed by teammate Nisha Pineda with eight points.
Mater Dei Catholic (10-7 overall) entered the week riding a seven-game winning streak thanks to a pair of Mesa League opening wins against Chula Vista (62-35 on Jan. 19) and Eastlake (58-48 last Friday). Brittani Lusain paced the Crusaders with 22 points and 14 rebounds against CVHS and had 14 points and 10 rebounds against EHS. Mater Dei entered the week as the lone unbeaten team in Mesa League play
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