The Vintage High girls basketball team improved to 4-0 in Vine Valley Athletic League play with a 47-28 road victory in this year’s first Big Game against Napa High.
Crushers star senior Alyssa Andrews paced her team with 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
But Vintage got solid production across the board. Kate Ilsley chipped in nine points and seven boards, Maya Sapienza put up seven points, six rebounds and three assists, and Morgan Groves added six points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
“I didn’t let the energy of the crowd get to me,” Andrews said after flirting with a triple-double. “I had to calm down and just find my players and I had to play my game. We turned it up on our defensive end and we just started getting rebounds and outlets and we beat them down the court.”
Trailing 25-20 with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter, the Crushers (11-5 overall) blitzed the Grizzlies (8-8, 0-3 VVAL) with a game-ending 22-8 run that included four outlet assists from Andrews to Nicole Gleeson (10 points, one rebound).
“I knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Vintage head coach Joe Donohoe said. “We just played harder in the second half and were able to get some separation. Our goal every quarter of every game is to hold them to single digits.”
The Crushers have hit that goal thus far in league play, holding four opponents to only 100 points combined.
Napa head coach Darci Ward said Vintage’s deadly 1-3-1 full-court zone pressure allows it to be such a force defensively.
“We couldn’t go against their 1-3-1 at all,” Ward said. “They put in their 1-3-1 defense and we really struggled to score against it. Obviously a focus point for us, and we just didn’t run our overloads correctly.”
Siena Young led Napa in scoring with six points to go along with five rebounds. Carly Johnson added five points, five boards and an assist, while Faith Bartlett scored four points and secured seven rebounds.
Early on, it appeared the Grizzlies’ raucous home-court advantage would help them keep it close as the teams traded leads eight times through the first three quarters.
Napa capitalized on a six-minute Crusher scoring drought to go from down 12-10 at the end of the first quarter to ahead 19-14 with 2:29 left in the half.
After taking a 19-18 lead into halftime, the Grizzlies found themselves ahead by five points yet again – before the wheels fell off offensively.
Napa managed to get off only 16 shots in the second half, as a barrage of turnovers led to easy Crusher baskets.
The Grizzlies will continue to search for their first VVAL win as they prepare for a road match against American Canyon on Thursday night.
The Crushers will aim to keep their momentum going when they host Sonoma Valley the same night. With an undefeated league record in tow, Donohoe knows the rest of the VVAL is putting a target on back of last year’s Monticello Empire League champion.
“For a long time we’ve been the hunters. Somewhere around last year we started being the hunted,” he said. “That’s new territory for this program, so we’re learning every day.”