DUBLIN, California – The Wells girls basketball team played six periods in a double-overtime loss Thursday, but the first quarter told the story of the Lady Leopards’ 22-point defeat Friday to Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies.
LACES has an enrollment of approximately 1,800 students and is a Division 1 program, which is the largest classification in the state of California.
Not only is the division big, so are the Lady Unicorns.
The length and athleticism of LACES posed major problems for the Lady Leopards in the first period, as Wells struggled to advance the ball down the floor against the 2-1-2 full and three-quarter court press.
LACES forced multiple turnovers, converting the vast portion of its takeaways into points.
Many of the Lady Unicorns’ buckets came in transition and at the rim, screaming to a 25-6 lead by the end of the first period.
“We didn’t match their intensity to start the game. We have usually been good against press defenses, but I don’t think we were used to their length, athleticism and size. Those girls are so strong,” said Wells coach Enoch Dahl.
The story of the frame was the difference in the contest, as Wells gradually adjusted to the increased level of talent and size.
The Lady Leopards outscored the Lady Unicorns 13-6 in the second period but trailed 31-19 at the break.
The second half played out fairly evenly, though LACES nearly equaled its first-half output with 30 points in the final two quarters.
Wells combined for 20 points in the third and fourth periods, falling 61-39.
Senior Keegan Laughlin led the Lady Leopards with 15 points, Wells earning another double-digit performance from freshman Cameron Powers with 11 points.
Senior Samantha Stumpf added seven points.
“We played them pretty even after the first quarter, but there were a lot of times when it didn’t feel that way,” Dahl said. “It was a good experience for our girls. We have to appreciate the opportunity to play in a tournament this big against good teams that will test us, expose our weaknesses and give us things to work on.”
The Lady Leopards will close the West Coast Jamboree with a 1 p.m. Saturday tip against Benicia.