On Friday Jan. 19, the undefeated girls’ varsity basketball team (7-0) demolished the Drake Pirates (1-6), winning 57-26. Throughout the game the Giants possessed an unyielding defense and were able to capitalize on offensive rebounds to give them second chance opportunities..
Despite the standings, with Redwood leading in the MCAL league, senior forward Julia Guisti knew the Giants couldn’t let their guard down as they had in the last year with their first loss.
“Last year we were undefeated and Drake was the team that came in when we weren’t expecting it. So this year we had to bring a new intensity to them to really come out with our best game,” Guisti said.
The Giants’ offense came out of the gate fast, creating efficient ball movement that complemented their floor spacing. Their spacing allowed the Giants to find the open player more often around the Pirate’s defense. Not only was their offense productive, but their defense was spectacular as well. Quick defensive pickups by Redwood players immobilized the Pirates, giving the Giants an 11-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Junior point guard Gabby Beltran stated that the Giants were expecting the Pirates to put an offensive pressure while maintaining a rigid defense. In response, the Giants needed to swift with their playmaking.
“We expected a lot of high pressure. We definitely got that and their defense was very strong so that’s why we made quick passes and quick transitions up the floor. We were trying to get them out of their zone as quick as possible,” Beltran said.
Photos by Maxim Kawashima
In the second quarter, the Giants kept up the same strategy. They continued to pass the ball down into the paint, where senior center Zoe Stachowski would be fouled or score. Offensive rebounds by junior Jenny Walker helped the Giants get second-chance points. The defense remained steadfast in keeping the Pirates at bay. At the end of the half, the Giants were up 24-8.
Regardless of the offensive numbers, Guisti states that there are still some fundamentals that need fine-tuning.
“We need to definitely improve upon our free throws because those are free shots and we didn’t shoot well from the free throw line. I think we need to put in our layups because right now we are rushing our shot and we need to finish,” Guisti said.
The Giants came out of halftime playing seemingly better than they had in the first half on the offensive end. Freshman shooting guard Kylie Horstmeyer was highly effective at draining multiple mid-range and close-range shots. The Pirates, alongside Redwood, had their most offensive quarter through layups and getting to the line. The quarter ended with the Giants up 39-17.
Although the Giants remained dominant throughout the entire game, junior shooting guard Kamalei Kaleikini stated they still made some errors.
“We had a lot of turnovers and we needed to communicate better on defense. Overall we just needed to play better as a team on the floor,” Kaleikini said.
The Giants had their highest-scoring quarter of 18 points in the fourth quarter. With the lead, they were able to slow the ball down and make more intuitive actions on the court. The Giants wrapped up the game with a score of 57-26.
The Giants play an away game against the Branson Bulls (0-7) on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 5:30 p.m.
Beltran said they will try to impose their physical size over the Bulls.
“Branson is very quick, so we have to keep pushing. We definitely have a height advantage so we’re going to have to get it into our bigs to slam it down on them,” Beltran said.
Field goal percentage: 31%
Free throw percentage: 42%
Zoe Stachowski & Kylie Horstmeyer-15
Sophia McWhorter & Julia Guisti-4