East County Sports

Eagles make statement with tournament title




By Dave Dickens



CYPRESS (12-30-2021) — Whether referencing a league championship, an SDSCIF championship, or in this situation, a tournament winner, all are equally important achievements.


However, if you ask Granite Hills head coach Jermani Stewart, this was a top accomplishment in her own personal list of achievements.


“I wouldn’t say the biggest win in my coaching career, but as far as tournaments are concerned this year, yes,” said the coach. “We only had eight players and our main ball handler, who averages 10 points per game was out. These teams are a great look for our girls, they are aggressive and they don’t stop so we had to match that energy. I really wanted this win today as they only had two losses on the season so far. We had a game plan and the girls really stuck to it. We are becoming more understanding in the game when to push, and when to pull back.” 


What a battle this one turned out to be and with all the combinations of offense and defense, steals, grabbing boards, physical, and thrilling shots you could ask for to keep everyone on the edge of their seats.


The first half of action ended with an 18-16 advantage, as Valencia held the lead.


As it has gone many times this season, senior Jade Hughes, was the leading scorer for the opening half, including three field goals, and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line to lead the Lady Eagles with eight points at the intermission.


As if a volcano erupted, Coach Stewart made sure to instill how important it was to the entire squad, and herself, to finish off this championship game and show they were a legitimate contender.


Granite did just that, came out like they owned the floor and control of this contest.


The all-important third quarter, was more than one, as they ended the third quarter quickly, putting up 16 points, and holding the home squad to six points defensively.


Hughes continued to dominate with four field goals and 1-of-2 at the free-throw line, to add another nine more points.


The Lady Eagles, with all the faith in the world given by Coach Stewart, to finish this squad off. The Lady Eagles lost the fourth quarter, 11-10, however, kept it together, to pull off the win Lady Eagle style, 42-35.


Hughes and Delaney Fry have become quite the tandem this season, with complete and full trust in one another.


Sophomore Fry makes plays when some are not even looking.


Fry had 11 points, eight assists, and an astounding 21 rebounds, along with three blocks.


“Overall, it was a great game for the team, we played together and communicated very well. I usually play the four-spot in our starting lineup, although our primary point guard was not able to play in this tournament, so I had the opportunity to step up and play that position tonight. I was able to break down the defense and penetrate the paint to create easy, open buckets for my teammates, who did a great job finishing,” said Fry.


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