As Pirates often do, they were able to weather the Storm.
The Modesto Junior College women’s basketball team sailed to a 56-27 win over host Napa Valley College at the Storm Classic on Tuesday.
It was the second game in less than 24 hours for the short-handed Napa Valley side, which lost to the Taft Cougars, 63-43, in Monday’s opener.
“There were two different vibes out there today,” Storm head coach Brian Fonseca observed. “Modesto was coming off an emotional win and played loose, and we just looked tired, although we played well yesterday. Our point guard, Alivia Trzesniewski, played all but one minute over the two games and that is quite a feat.”
Both teams looked a little off their games in the beginning and after 10 minutes of basketball, the game was tied at just 6-6.
“We played hard, but the basket seemed to have a lid on it today,” Fonseca said.
After freshman center Amy Christensen made a nice putback to keep NVC close at 9-8, the Pirates began finding the range and scoring from outside while using their size advantage inside. Another Christensen bank shot kept Napa Valley in the conversation, but Modesto would answer every challenge. Buckets by Allyssa Mick-McKinzie from underneath and Kierra MacKinzie from just inside the arc cut the Pirates’ lead to 23-14 by halftime.
After halftime, the Storm players’ legs appeared to be getting heavy as Modesto ran off the first 14 points, before Ajaloni Irvin scored for Napa Valley on a driving fast-break layup.
“Their team is so deep their girls probably played half the minutes our girls did in the two games,” said Fonseca.
That certainly seemed to be the major difference in the game.
If Napa Valley looked tired in the third quarter, the Storm looked absolutely exhausted in the fourth. They didn’t score until 2:30 was left in the game, on an Irvin 3-pointer from way downtown. It was clear sailing the rest of the way for the Pirates in their 29-point victory.
Freshman power forward Mick-McKinzie had a strong tournament for Napa Valley, scoring 10 against Taft and six against Modesto.
“I had a couple of good moves today,” she said. “I’m coming off an ankle injury, so just to be able to get back out there was pretty great.”
The Justin-Siena alum said better times are around the corner for the Storm.
“We’ve got great chemistry and I love playing with these girls, so I’m having a blast,” she said. “Even shorthanded, I think we can get the job done.”
Fonseca agreed that things will be looking up when the Storm (0-8) hosts Merritt to begin Bay Valley Conference play at 5 p.m. Dec. 29.
“I think the experience will start to kick in,” he said. “We played well against Taft after a slow start, but even shorthanded, we were pretty even the rest of the game.”
Trzesniewski led the Storm for the two-day tournament with 18 points – 10 on Monday and eight on Tuesday. Mick-McKinzie had 16 (10 and six, respectively), Katie Depp had 10 (eight and two), Kierra MacKinzie had nine (seven and two), Irvin had nine (four and five), and Christensen had eight (four and four).