DUBLIN, California – After suffering two losses – a close, double-overtime defeat and a 22-point thumping – the Wells girls basketball team finished the pearl bracket of the West Coast Jamboree with some gusto.
The Lady Leopards hit the gas pedal often and early Saturday against Benicia (California), leading to a 64-25 runaway win.
Wells finished the tournament with a 1-2 record.
The onslaught began from the opening tip, the Lady Leopards using defensive pressure to force Benicia’s guards into turnovers and finding easy buckets in transition.
“Their guards were not as strong as their posts, so that’s where I wanted us to attack them,” said Wells coach Enoch Dahl. “We came out guns blazing, knocked down shots and blew them away early.”
Dahl said Benicia had some length but that his players came out with high energy and strength, similar to the games he “saw against Alamo and Mojave” to start the Christmas break.
Wells opened leads of 25-6 after the first quarter and 33-10 at halftime, combining defense with hot shooting from distance.
“We had a better game plan to take away their scorers. Their post was pretty tall and athletic, but Keegan (Laughlin) did a good job of defending her strong shoulder,” Dahl said. “We held her to seven points, and they had a guard who knocked down a bunch of threes the day before we played them. She only scored five points and made one three.”
While Benicia’s outside shooting was shut down, Wells’ heated up – primarily from freshman Cameron Powers.
The Lady Leopards tallied advantages of 18-8 in the period and 13-7 in the fourth, leading to a 39-point victory of 64-25.
Powers tied for the game high with 21 points, matching the 21 from senior Samantha Stumpf.
In just six made field goals, Powers did damage with five 3s – finishing a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line.
Stumpf knocked down two shots from the land beyond, making a clean 3-for-3 at the stripe.
The duo combined for 42 of Wells’ 64 points.
“Cameron got really hot from three. She had herself a ballgame,” Dahl said. “Sammy shot the ball well too.”
WELLS 23 10 18 13 64 Total
BENICIA 6 4 8 7 25 Total
The Lady Leopards will now begin league play of the Division 1A Northern-East, the true season that determines postseason ramifications.
Wells will play its league opener on the road, facing the Lady Bulldogs – who also competed in the West Coast Jamboree and went 2-1 in the onyx bracket.
McDermitt’s only loss of the tourney came in its opening game, falling by two points to Kennedy (California).
The Lady Bulldogs bounced back and won their final two games, defeating Westmoor (California) 65-53 and closing with a two-point victory of 43-41 over Chowchilla (California).
“Precious Masters had some huge games in the tournament. She is McDermitt’s impact player. To beat them, you have to limit what she does,” Dahl said.
Masters was contained to 14 points and seven rebounds in McDermitt’s loss to Kennedy, but Jasmine Northrup poured in 21 points in defeat.
In the Lady Bulldogs’ final two games of the tournament, Masters went off.
She scored 37 points and pulled down 26 rebounds against Westmoor, adding another monster double-double of 32 points and 27 boards against Chowchilla.
The Lady Leopards will tip off 1A Northern-East action at 6 p.m. Friday in McDermitt.