Napa Valley College likes to call Solano its rival in most sports, but rivals have to beat each other on a regular basis.
It’s been pretty one-sided for Solano in women’s basketball, but Napa Valley seemed more determined to beat the Falcons on Tuesday night than it has in years.
While top scorer and rebounder Allanna Burnham was limited to three points in about eight minutes of playing time because of foul trouble, teammates stepped up and forced Solano to double-overtime before succumbing, 80-70, in the Bay Valley Conference contest.
In their previous meeting in February 2012, Napa Valley (4-9 overall, 1-1 BVC) had lost 79-32 to Solano — a score typical of many between the neighbors.
But first-year Storm coach Vincent Shaw said preaching team concepts nearly helped his squad pull off its first win over the Falcons (5-8 overall, 2-1 BVC) in many years.
Burnham fouled out with 14 minutes left in regulation. But Sara Irvine stepped up with a season-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers, and Natasha Wallace had 17 points and Jenna Pena 15 points.
“We preach team basketball,” he said. “If someone’s not on, find somebody else who is. We started going to Sara, and when Natasha got going, we went to her. It’s all about sharing the ball.”
Wallace gave the Storm a big lead with two quick 3-pointers down the stretch, stealing the ball in between. But Solano tied it on a lay-up, 58-58, with 1.2 seconds left to force the first overtime.
With about 10 seconds left in the first OT and the score 64-64, the Storm turned the ball over and the teams went to another five-minute overtime. After that, Shaw said, his team missed too many free throws and gave up too many easy baskets and rebounds to hold back the Falcons any longer.
“It’s not a surprise that we’re in these games because we work hard and we prepare for success,” Shaw said. “The byproduct of hard work is putting ourselves in position to win. I’ve got to tip my hat to the girls. They haven’t played a close game with Solano in years. As I told my AD (Kevin Luckey), we’ve closed the gap already and we’re going to continue to get better and improve, keep working.”
The Storm were coming off a 51-49 win over Marin in their BVC opener six days before, but Shaw wants to be able to that against perennial powers.
“We’ve got to learn how to win close games,” he said. “We need to keep grinding and grinding in practice until we do.”
The Storm will host a tough Contra Costa team at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.