Instead of chanting "one-two-three-defense!" to open the championship game of the Division I, Section III tournament, No. 2 Desert Vista should have given its offense the shout-out.
A disheartened performance overall from the Thunder led to a runaway 62-46 win by top-seeded Mountain View. The lack of an offensive rhythm tormented Desert Vista (24-6, 16-5 in power rankings) from tip-off.
"We had a horrible start," Thunder coach Rachel Proudfoot said. "We weren't playing team offense. It's a learning lesson."
The offense Desert Vista is so adept at running through sophomore point guard Emily Wolph and junior Kylie Butler was disrupted by bad passing decisions, which led to turnovers and points for the Toros.
"I think it was not working as a team and not seeing people open," Butler said. "Just basically not communicating."
While Proudfoot didn't have a lot to say about the loss, she echoed Butler's turnover analysis.
"We weren't playing as a team," Proudfoot said. "When you're not playing as a team, you're going to turn the ball over. That was huge."
The 15-4 second quarter in favor of Mountain View (26-2, 20-1) was where Desert Vista's offensive inefficiency took its toll. The Toros were getting their hands up on defense, resulting in multiple steals off careless in-bounds passes by the Thunder.
When the second half got started with Mountain View on top 42-30, Desert Vista's duo of junior Jayla Brown and Butler gave the team the offensive presence it had been searching for. At times throughout the second half, the Toros appeared the more winded of the teams, but missed free throws killed a lot of Desert Vista's comeback momentum.
"We practice free throws every day in practice," said Butler, who scored 16 points to go along with her five rebounds and four assists. "I just guess it was the hype getting to us."
In the end, Mountain View's excellent guard play from junior Rene Coggins and senior Arnecia Hawkins was too much for the Thunder's defensive scheme. Their perimeter shooting enabled the pounding in the paint by junior Jordan Jensen, who led her team with 16 points, four rebounds and an assist.
Hawkins finished with 15 points, while Coggins provided eight points, three rebounds and three assists.
For Desert Vista, freshman center Kristine Anigwe proved to be one of the team's few highlights with her third double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and bringing down 10 rebounds.
When asked what the team was planning on taking into the state tournament next week, Butler said they must have a clear mind.
Proudfoot would like to see the defense and all-around intensity improved in practices before their first-round matchup.
"We're going to pick it up on the defensive level, see if we can get some more steals, generate off our transition and hopefully pick up the intensity from the get-go," Proudfoot said.
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