Darci Lewis dialed up a defense Tuesday night that was all about pressure.
The Napa High School girls basketball team came at American Canyon hard in a nonleague game at Messner Gym, unleashing a full-court man defense with a lot of trapping. It was successful for Napa, as it limited American Canyon to four points in the first quarter and just two points in the second quarter.
The Indians won, 55-23, as Amy Gruenhagen’s 17 points, 16 rebounds and three steals paved the way.
“Their press sure got to us,” American Canyon coach Jill Stewart said. “We tried to make adjustments. We’re not at that level yet. They’re a disciplined team. Darci does a great job with them and they’re fundamentally sound.”
American Canyon (5-6 overall) — with two freshmen, six sophomores and five juniors — practiced ahead of time for Napa’s press.
“It just didn’t work for us tonight. We just couldn’t make the adjustments that we needed to make,” said Stewart.
“They are a higher skilled team. It’s just the difference in the program that’s been around forever, that has all the traditions, and a brand new program with a lot of young kids. It’s good for us, because we know where we want to be and we can see that’s the level we want to play at. We’ll get there some day.”
Napa (4-5 overall) not only dominated with defense. The Indians also did a very good job on the offensive glass, keeping the ball alive on their possessions and getting additional shots off to take a 25-6 halftime lead and a 42-14 lead after the third quarter.
Sam Gafvert scored 13 points and had four rebounds for Napa, which took third place in last week’s Wine Valley Classic here. Emilie Dolan had seven points.
Nine of Napa’s 11 players scored. Kelsi Maday and Miranda Holman each had five rebounds. Kristina Kontouris and Jasmine Washington each had four rebounds. Olivia Gassner had four steals.
“We were hoping that by doubling their players, they would have a tough time with it,” Lewis said. “I’m very happy with how the girls played tonight. I thought they did a good job. They kept the pressure on, they focused.”
For Napa to be successful, the Indians will need to play that kind of defense, game in and game out, Lewis said.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to try and pressure on-ball as much as possible,” said Lewis. “We just do better when we get to push the ball.”
Napa had a sizable height advantage on American Canyon. Lewis was proud of the way that Napa — which faces Justin-Siena Friday in a nonleague game at 7:30 p.m. at Messner Gym — rebounded the ball on the offensive end and worked the boards.
“American Canyon doesn’t have a ton of size, so I told my girls, ‘You better rebound. Since they don’t have size, you need to take advantage,’ ” Lewis said. “We don’t normally get to see that.”
Cheyenne Hayes led American Canyon — a first-year varsity team with several young players — with nine points.
“If you look at the roster, everybody in the rotation are sophomores and freshmen,” said Stewart.
There were moments when American Canyon ran its offense and was disciplined, said Stewart.
“I thought that we played hard,” the Wolves’ coach said. “We did some good things. I don’t think we rolled over.”