American jumps ahead early, wins with defensive playing

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Junior Gianna Cooper prepares to shoot in the third quarter in front of Pittsburg’s number 23, Zorreia Rudolph. American’s Varsity Girls Basketball team played against Pittsburg on December 12, 2015 at Contra Costa Community College, winning 42-36. “We had total team effort, and we played our hardest our there today,” Joshi said.

Varsity Girls Basketball wins against Pittsburg, 42-36

Sarah Jensen

Staff Writer

    American’s Varsity Girls Basketball team won their match against Pittsburg High School on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at Contra Costa Community College. The evenly-matched teams battled constantly for the upper hand, American’s initial lead ultimately bringing their overall win.

    American established a lead right from the beginning, gaining twelve points to Pittsburg’s six in the first minute and a half alone. By the end of the first half, American was leading 22 to 13.

    “The beginning we were more calm, and we got it under control,” Vicky Huang (11) said. “It was more us.”

    Pittsburg started strong in the third quarter, closing the gap between scores to five points. After a time-out, American came back and regained a more solid lead, ending the quarter 33 to 23. The fourth quarter began with Pittsburg beginning strong once again, but American caught on and pulled farther ahead.

    “By the end we just stopped them completely,” co-captain Shreya Joshi (12) said. “They didn’t shoot at all, they didn’t make any shots after, so our defense really picked it up by the end.”

    At the very end of the game, American briefly tried to stall to keep their lead, but then chose to play with the same energy and speed as before. With barely over ten seconds from the end, Huang made the final basket to bring the final score to 42 to 36.

    “They played really tough,” coach Keith Ramee said. “I asked them to come in here and fight for everything, and they fought harder today than they have all year.”

    A major factor in the Eagles’ win was their response to Pittsburg’s press (trying to force a turnover before the ball passes half-court), which “was killing all the other teams,” according to Joshi. American’s coaches had scouted Pittsburg’s team previously, figuring out the opposing team’s style of press.

    “Their press was usually one to two, and they were high on half court,” Joshi explained. “So what we did is we implemented our 13, which is a play that we use down, usually on the baseline. We used it up on half court and we beat their press, and they didn’t use it after.”

    After winning against Pittsburg in their fourth game of the season, American’s Varsity Girls Basketball team has high hopes for the future. Their defensive and focused playing against Pittsburg won them the match, and the players have a mindset of continually improving from here.

    “I’m happy because we competed against a really good team — Pittsburg finished second last year in the NCS — and so to beat a team like that is really rewarding,” Ramee said.

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