East County Sports

Eagles follow through for victory

Granite Hills junior ACHELLA AGOTH defends against Valhalla on Friday night.



EastCountySports.com staff report

EL CAJON – The improvement in the Granite Hills Eagles girls varsity basketball team is hard to notice in the win-loss column.

But anyone who follows the Eagles has seen the progression on the court.

That improvement has been most noticeable during the first half of the Eagles games during the second half of the season.

After several games in the first half of the season in which the team only scored in single digits for the entire game, Granite Hills has played some competitive quarters during the back half of the schedule, but the challenges of a rebuilding campaign usually has taken its toll after halftime.

Valhalla’s ANGIE ORANGE and Granite Hills’ MAGGIE MOSKUS on Friday night.

On Friday night, the Eagles had their traditional rival square in their sights.

After losing the first meeting at home to the Lady Norsemen, 26-23, the Granite Hills girls had the measurement for turning around the result in the second meeting.

The result was a 26-23 upset. On the road, no less.

 “I’m just beyond proud,” Granite Hills head coach BRIANNA MARTINEZ said. “Nobody wants a losing season and these girls have come every day to work. They understand this is a rebuilding year and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.”

Valhalla made the only baskets early, jumping out to a 6-0 lead more than midway through the first quarter.

Valhalla senior FRANKIE MCGUIRE made a basket to make it 4-0 Valhalla.

Senior ANGIE ORANGE made it 6-0 as the Eagles remained scoreless for nearly seven minutes of the first quarter.

The Eagles finally got on the board with just over a minute to play in the first quarter when junior ACHELA AGOTH banked one in, as the score was 6-2 at the end of one period.

Granite Hills’ FONI PATIA, a freshman, made a shot jumper to make it 6-5 in the second quarter.

Valhalla sophomore MARIAN MECHAEL handles the ball on Friday night.

Sophomore JAYLEE JONES scored with just over one minute left in the first half to close the lead to 9-8.

Moments later, senior AMY DALY knocked down a pair of free throws as the Eagles were proving their first half resiliance once again, taking a 10-9 lead.

Granite took an 11-9 lead into the locker room.

“A couple weeks ago they told me they have just been used to always giving up,” Martinez said. “That was their culture and we have been trying to get them away from that mindset and tonight it finally clicked.”

Valhalla sophomore CASSADY KALASHO had a field goal for Valhalla early in the second quarter. She added a three-pointer in the third quarter to pull the Lady Norsemen to within 16-15 at the end of three quarters. She finished with seven points.

Granite Hills took a four-point lead on a rebound and basket by sophomore SARA LADU. Ladu also finished with 12 rebounds.

“Sarah (was) cleaning up for us like we’ve been wanting her too,” Martinez said.

It the fourth quarter, a scoring-fest broke out, so to speak.

Daly got it started with a short field goal, then a minute or so later, Agoth put one in.

Orange tied the game, however, with a field goal to make it 20-all, then made a free throw for a 21-20 advantage.

The Eagles came right back though with some nice passing that resulted in an inside basket for Ladu.

Agoth blocked a three-point attempt by Valhalla’s outside threat with 15 seconds left.

The Norsemen just missed a last-second heave from mid-court, sending the Eagles into a cool celebration in front of their bench.

“They played to the very end and every player had a role in this game,” Martinez said. “My freshman, MAGGIE MOSKUS has stepped up in huge ways. My bench was loud, my kids were coachable. It was fun. So it was awesome and well deserved.”

The Monte Vista Monarchs, in the middle of the Grossmont Valley League title chase, will face the renewed confidence of the Granite Hills girls on Tuesday.

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