Gaels put on the pressure

Basketball: Full-court press causes havoc and leads to Holy Family league victory.

January 12, 2011|By Grant Gordon,
  • Holy Family's Kanani Hartage turns to pass the ball up court against Sacred Heart's Sam Burola .
Holy Family's Kanani Hartage turns to pass the ball… (Tim Berger )

SOUTHWEST GLENDALE — The start to Tuesday evening's Horizon League girls' basketball contest was hardly picturesque.

But for all the chaos and, frankly, ugliness, as Holy Family was concerned, the first quarter was plenty effective.

The Gaels used their full-court press, the overall play of Gayle Lachica and the hot hand of Gaby Diaz to jump out to an early lead and never looked back on their way to a 55-32 league victory over visiting Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Pacific Park Community Center.

"I think the press definitely helped us," said Holy Family Coach Ernest Siy, whose Gaels improved to 3-10 and 1-1 in league after forcing 40 Sacred Heart turnovers. "It was definitely our strong suit tonight."

Both teams implemented a press, with Sacred Heart (1-8, 1-1) forcing 32 Holy Family turnovers.

The teams combined for 23 in a first quarter that saw four combined trips to the foul line in the first 2:09, but only a 1-1 score. But the Gaels — spearheaded by Diaz' game-high 19 points and Lachica's 11 points, 13 rebounds and six assists — eventually caught fire and scored the final nine points of the period to take a 16-5 lead into the second quarter.


"Gayle's really the anchor of the team, if she goes, the team goes," said Siy, who got three points, three boards and an assist from Lachica in the first quarter and six points from Diaz. "[Lachica] set the tone and Gaby set the tone."

In the quarter, Holy Family forced 15 turnovers, outrebounded the Comets, 9-5, and made six of 15 shots to a two-for-10 performance from Sacred Heart. The biggest basket came when Diaz sank a three-pointer at the 1:33 mark before Natalia Neris knocked down a long ball of her own with 53 seconds left.

"It did get our confidence up," said Diaz of the back-to-back three-pointers during the 9-0 run to close the quarter. "If I start making shots, I feel confident."

The confidence showed when Sacred Heart cut the lead to 19-11 before Diaz scored a layup off her own steal and followed it up with another three in a 41-second span in the second quarter that began another 9-0 run.

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