East County Sports

After heartbreak, Patriots rout Cards

Christian and OLP in action. / Dave Dickens



By Dave Dickens




EL CAJON (2-10-2022) –The Christian Lady Patriots have had their ups and downs, their trials and triumphs, and of course, wins and a few too many losses. One common denominator for the girls, they never quit, whine, but once in a while vent their frustration, in regard to their own play and how much more capable they are. This season saw a complete makeover with the amount of talent that graduated last year, yet left two outstanding seniors with great leadership qualities and plenty of talent.


These qualities belong to seniors Tiffany Bickford and J.P. Melvin.


Before we touch on the loss to Our Lady of Peace, which was a very winnable game, and the huge win over Hoover, the next night, towards the end of the year last year, Tiffany Bickford signed with Eastern Texas Baptist University.


It was such a pleasure to not only scribe the story, but the visit and that God had really helped her to make the final decision as I recall her talking about a terrible headache before she left the University she prayed for his decision and for his glory, and the headache was gone, spoke with her father and assistant coach at Christian High and will get started soon after the Lady Patriots shake some things up in the playoffs. 


Japonica Melvin is also going to be moving on to the next level at UAV. What a treat for both seniors to be at each other’s signings. Senior Night was truly special, and I want to thank 


Melvin, as soon as she became a Christian Patriot, assisted in helping Tiffany, with another senior that could ball and also assist her on the floor with the younger up-and-coming superstars. She was a master at the boards and truly had some impressive offensive nights, as well. She will be remembered especially for that true passion and always fighting for that ball with every bit of that awesome spirit.


As far as the OLP contest, the Lady Patriots came out firing, the defense was working, the game plan was being executed, but the visiting OLP squad was on top of their game out of the gate, and keeping pace with Christian, 13-11 Lady Patriots after one quarter. Unfortunately, the visitors made adjustments against the defense in particular, which led to better ball handling and a 27-23 lead now at the half for OLP.


The Lady Patriots came back out on fire in the third quarter and shut OLP down as they had better execution regarding their passes, grabbing rebounds, and even better decisions before letting their shots go, which led to a dominant third quarter, and in this rival game it seemed that the Lady Patriots might put this one to bed in the final quarter as they were up now, 35-31, after a 12-4 run in the third by the Lady Pats.


Fouls, missed shots, passes just a hair off leading to steals, and appeared to be running out of gas as the bench was in the rotation to try and reignite a spark. OLP prevailed as they had the stamina and the fuel, along with determination winning, 20-11, in the fourth and a win, overall, 


As the clock showed, 52-46, Pilots for the final win.


“We played decently overall, not outstanding, and I had hoped we would play outstanding. Especially due to the fact that my two seniors had only two games ever left to play at home. We missed a lot of free throws and took threes when we didn’t need to, instead of getting to the rim and utilizing our posts. We started off early with confusion on who each player was guarding and with that they got four easy back door shots, but then there were several spots of great defense we played.


OLP worked hard, they always move on offense and the three-point game was on point for their shooter,” said Christian High head coach Vickie Carrington.


“I think the big part of the loss against OLP was energy, especially on defense. Sometimes we take a play off and it stops our momentum. When we play games altogether, sharing the ball, and with a whole lot of energy, we are hard to stop,” said Hailey Whitman, of the Patriots.


“In the OLP game, I definitely think we should have one but we didn’t execute correctly for enough time. We came out with low energy and we eventually picked it up but that really set us back Even though they are a great team, if we got to face them in the playoffs, I believe we could beat them. The Hoover game will always have a special place in my heart because it was Senior Night along with J.P. and my signing night. We all came out with a lot of energy and it was just a great team game. Super proud of how we ended the week and I can’t wait for our first playoff game,” said Bickford.


“In the game against  OLP, we could’ve blown them out of the water, that was a very winnable game. Some things I could have done differently was probably not letting No. 22 (Jillian Nowicki) have the ball in her hands as much as she did. But to be honest, in my opinion, if we see them in the playoffs, it’s all gas and no brakes. We will be returning the favor,” said the Pats’ Amyaha Walker.


“As an individual, I have been showing up and I have been playing my game for God. I gained some confidence in myself, and the Lord helped give me energy as the week before I was lacking energy. I’ve recently been trying and practicing new things in games that I hope to get better at, so I can contribute more to my team. As a team, I think we could have played better against OLP because they are a beatable team for us. As for Hoover, I think we stepped it up and played our game. That was a great team effort and I think we all showed up in one way or another,” said Noelle Sanchez.


The Christian Lady Patriots finished the regular season also defeating Canyon Hills, 55-37, and finished the regular season, one of the toughest in quite a few years 11-17 and 2-6 for fourth place in the Western Division. 


The Lady Patriots will travel to the North County to face the La Costa Canyon Mavericks (14-10; 7-3, 3rd in the North County Coastal League) on Tuesday.


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