The Minarets Mustangs girls varsity team (5-3) headed over the mountain Dec. 28, for a game with the Mariposa Grizzles (8-3). Mariposa Cach Trace DeSanders has his team playing solid defense and textbook offense.
On paper the two clubs matched up well so it was a bit of a surprise when coach Dee Kamalani’s Mustangs fell behind 5-0 at the start of the game - but the Mustangs went on to score 16 unanswered points to take a 11-5 lead. Seniors Natalie Chamberlain and Kalea Kamalani added two 3-pointers, extending the Mustangs lead to 17-5 at the end the first period.
Minarets bombed away from outside the arc as Kamalani made two more 3-pointers, and Chamberlain added another, giving the Mustangs a 24-9 advantage. Senior Danielle Johnson got into the action, hitting two 3-pointers. While the Mustangs relied on the deep ball, the Grizzles started working the ball into the paint with ease, converting high percentage shots as the Mustangs shooters began to cool off a bit.
With 4:60 left in the third period, Mariposa took the lead 35-33. Up stepped Johnson to end the drought, dropping in a three-pointer just as Mariposa was starting to pull away to give the Mustangs a 39-36 lead.
Mariposa’s Kirsten Dubberke hit 10 to 12 -footers, time and time again. Minarets had no answer for Dubberke as the freshman remained red hot throughout the game. Fellow freshman Milea Appling was just as impressive for the Grizzlies as the two youngsters kept the Mariposa in the game. The Mustangs trailed 42-36 after three periods.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Johnson ignited the Mustangs, hitting back to back 3-pointers to tie the game at 42-42 with 6:56 to play. The lead changed six times in the final period.
The Grizzlies took a 4 point lead (49-45) before Johnson hit another three to keep the Mustangs within striking distance, 49-48 Mariposa.
With just under two minutes to play Sydney Johnson, Danielle's sophomore sister, hit a long 2-pointer making the score 51-50 Mustangs.
Chamberlain then hit a huge 3-pointer to put the Mustangs up 54-50. Dubberke answered with a basket underneath, giving her 26 points on the game and bringing the Grizzlies to within two, 54-52. Neither team scored in the final 40 seconds, and the Mustangs got out of Mariposa with the 54-52 non-league win.
For the Mustangs, who hit 11 3-pointers on the night, Danielle Johnson and Chamberlain had 16 points each, while center Berry added 10. Kamalani had nine points on her three 3-pointers.
The Mustangs take the court at 3:30 p.m., Jan. 7, against Riverdale (3-4), as they prepare for West Sequoia League play.
Boys team loses 73-50
The Minarets boys basketball team (4-7), lost to the Grizzlies (3-5) 73-50.
Both clubs have struggled early on and were coming off losses. Coach Bob Jaekle’s club took the reins from the tip-off, leading the Mustangs 21-14 after the first period.
Minarets headed into the second half down 40-29.
The Grizzles out scored the Mustangs 29-11 in the third, going on to win 73-50.
A rematch against the Badgers of Yosemite at 7 p.m., Jan. 13, on the Mustang court. Minarets lost 52-34 in the clubs first meeting Dec. 19 in the Liberty Hawk Classic tournament.
It was a tough, physical game with the Mustangs Mason Ellis leading all scorers with 18 points. Minarets will be without his services, as the talented football player takes part in the 34th Annual Blue/Grey game in Jacksonville Florida.