Seconds tick away on the clock. Little time is left in the second quarter, but the girls’ varsity basketball team shows no sign of deceleration. Senior Nicki Yang steals the ball from an opposing player and dribbles down the court on a fast break, finishing with a layup, and giving her team a 12-point halftime lead against San Marin.
Saturday’s 69-63 win against the Mustangs not only put the Giants into first place in MCAL, but also marked the first time in Redwood head coach Diane Peterson’s nine-year career that her team has had a 5-0 MCAL record.
“Nobody ever thought that Redwood was a contender,” said sophomore Jenny Walker, the team’s leading scorer thus far in the season. “The IJ does a preview of all the teams and they didn’t give us any respect. Now we are just showing them who we actually are.”
The team played with unrestrainable energy throughout the entire game. They led by nearly 10 points until the third quarter, when the Mustangs made a comeback and were behind by only three points.
“We have a problem of kind of getting stuck like ‘Oh we are winning’ and we just give it up and sometimes we can get it back before the buzzer is over…so we have to smash on top,” Walker said.
According to Peterson, the team’s biggest challenge was containing San Marin junior Shasta Parker, but by adjusting their match ups, the Giants were able to limit the Mustangs’ top scorer.
“[Junior Sophia McWhorter] and [senior Layla Dunne] stepped up tremendously and shut [Parker] down, but it also took everybody else out there on the court to be aware and know when she had the ball and to help as well,” Peterson said.
The Giants’ dominant performance surprised their fans as well. In the fourth quarter, cheers of astonishment followed McWhorter’s two consecutive three-pointers from the corner.
Senior Heidi Roenisch led the team with 17 points, followed by 10 points from Walker, McWhorter and Dunne.
Despite the other team’s aggressive defense, Walker was able to draw fouls and drive to the post. She made all five of her free throw attempts.
“It’s not arrogant, but you have to think no one can guard you and you have to think that you’re the best, because if you think someone is better than they will be better,” Walker said.
The girls’ next league game is on Friday, Jan. 20 at Drake.