East County Sports

Patriots almost break out for win

Christian High during a time out on Friday. / Dave Dickens

2021-22 EAST COUNTY PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL

DEL NORTE 55, CHRISTIAN 39

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

EL CAJON – The Christian High Patriots couldn’t slow the Del Norte Nighthawks in the fourth quarter on Friday night, as the visitors came away with a 55-39 victory at Ryan Center.

Del Norte outscored Christian, 22-12, in the fourth quarter to take control in the key stanza.

The game was in the balance for most of the contest.

Christian High started strong behind Tiffany Bickford, who scored 10 points in the first half.

Bickford had seven points in the first quarter, including a three-pointer. She had three steals in the contest.

“I think that we definitely should’ve won this game but it was just difficult once our bigs were in foul trouble and we lost our main rebounders,” Bickford said. “We all should be rebounding. We need to work on boxing out and playing to everyone’s strengths. Sometimes we forget what everyone is best at and once we realize that, it’s going to be a different game.”

Jaida Flores, a junior, had a three-pointer for Christian High in the second quarter.

Koko Akridge kept Christian in the ball game throughout the second half.

Akridge had a pair of three-pointers in the second half. She scored all of Christian’s 12 points in the fourth quarter. She also contributed three assists for the game.

“This was definitely a winnable game,” Akridge said. “We came out good in the start and tried to finish hard. We had a lot of good takeaways such as pushing the ball, attacking, and getting to the free-throw line. We can always learn from these games and that is exactly what we will do to continue to prepare for the rest of the season.”

J.P. Melvin led Christian High in rebounds with six.

Del Norte senior Grace Cooper and sophomore Bailey Barnhard both scored six points in the fourth quarter.

“I think the biggest thing for us is how we finish the game,” Patriot Hailey Whitman added. “We started off really strong and we were happy with our performance at the half but we came out with a lot less energy in the second half.”

Del Norte improved to 7-2.

Christian High fell to 0-6.

Patriots head coach Vickie Carrington postgame: 

I’m proud of the girls, for sure. But I know we didn’t box out well which resulted in us not rebounding well. I tell them ‘she who controls the boards controls the game!’ And, the main reason we’re falling short is we’re NOT rebounding. As far as our shots, we are getting looks, but we can improve on our shot selections, attack the gaps more and kick out sooner… we like the perimeter, but we can’t be one dimensional in scoring. The girls do work hard, but for some, right now it’s in spurts. But, since we are not deep, the girls have to be able to grind for 32 minutes at a high level. Collectively we’re not there, yet, but part of it is on me, I have to continue to push them in practice, and not allow them to cheat themselves by going halfheartedly. I’m competitive. I’ve had to compete all my life in one facet or another, so I never give up. being 0-6 doesn’t define us… it’s indicative of where we are right now, NOT who we are. Yes, it’s really a bummer losing but I assure you when we step on the floor we aren’t stepping on the court visionless, we have a game plan and, I know this much, no one wants to win more than our girls and our staff. We put in work. We are a young squad and when you’re rebuilding, it is a process, phase by phase, and step by step, we’re getting there. We’re learning to work together; we’re trying to build up our team chemistry and camaraderie; and we’re learning to trust each other. I can tell you this, every game our goal is to get one-percent better, and we certainly have. We’ve started off 0-6 before and we have finished well in the end. I believe in my girls and I absolutely adore this group, we just have to figure things out… they are fixable minor adjustments, and are fixable. the team must stay united, not lose hope and find a way to work together. We’re down right now, but in no way are we out.

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