The Napa High girls basketball team lost to the Tracy Bulldogs, 47-42, in the seventh-place game of the Wine Valley Tournament on Saturday at Messner Gym.
“I thought we could win today,” said Indians head coach Darci Ward. “It was a very frustrating game because we have to beat the teams we can, but right now we’re not doing that.”
Carly Johnson, who led Napa with 14 points, agreed.
“We should have beat that team today,” the sophomore said. “My shot was on today.”
Junior point guard Jane McLoughlin was named to the All-Tournament team for Napa (1-6).
“It feels good,” she said. “We had an off-game today, but we’ll get there.”
It was a game the Indians looked like they might put in the win column after they raced to a 7-2 lead thanks to accurate shooting by Carly Johnson and Malia Blackmon. Johnson extended the lead to 15-8 with a tough bucket underneath off an inbounds pass.
Not the most skillful team in the tournament, but pesky to the max, the Bulldogs (3-5) then ripped off eight straight points to close the quarter with an unlikely 16-15 lead.
Napa answered by opening the second quarter with a nice eight-point run of its own. Back-to-back baskets by Blackmon and Breck Hearn gave Napa its biggest lead at 23-16 halfway through the quarter, with Tracy yet to score. But just when it looked like the Indians might be on their way to their first tournament victory, the roof caved in.
Tracy’s fast break was too much for Napa as the Bulldogs, who looked the fresher team, scored 17 straight points to take a 33-23 lead by the middle of the third quarter. Napa finally scored on two Hearn free throws with 2:55 to go. Tracy took its largest lead, 11 points, with 1:25 left in the third. But shots by Ghisletta and McLoughlin brought Napa to within seven by the end of the quarter.
Ward pleaded with her troops to play the fourth quarter with heart and leave it all on the floor. It looked like her Indians got the message, as buckets by Ghisletta and Johnson brought the Indians to within 38-34. Napa crept within two after free throws by Johnson, and she scored again seconds later to tie the game at 40.
Unfortunately for the Indians, it was the Bulldogs who stepped up in crunch time with a driving layup by 5-foot-1 Alyissa Escobar, who led all scorers with 20 points.
“I’m proud of the girls for playing with heart and making a comeback, but I’m upset because we were in that situation,” said Ward. “We’re just not playing to our potential.”
Blackmon had eight points, Hearn added six, Ghisletta and Jenna Baker had five each, while McLoughlin and Caitlyn Neal added two apiece.
Napa plays again Tuesday, when it hosts Santa Rosa for a 7 p.m. tipoff.