Knights build chemistry, big lead in season opener

Young team with five freshmen, two sophomores start slow, finish strong in dispatching Eastside, 55-22

In+her+first+high+school+basketball+game%2C+freshman+Esme+Barraz+recorded+seven+steals+and+scored+11+points+to+help+lead+the+varsity+to+an+easy+victory+over+Eastside+Memorial.

Dave Winter

In her first high school basketball game, freshman Esme Barraz recorded seven steals and scored 11 points to help lead the varsity to an easy victory over Eastside Memorial.

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The girls varsity basketball team rallied after a nervous start to produce a decisive 55-22 victory over Eastside in the team’s season opener Tuesday night in the Mac gym.

For it being the first time a lot of the team has really played together in an actual game, I feel we played really well together and trusted one another.”

— senior shooting guard Makayla Mason

After both teams started tentatively, junior point guard Fayth Schumann found the range scoring eight early points to stake the Knights to an 11-5 lead after a quarter. Let the record show that freshman guard Esme Barraz scored the first point of the season on a first-quarter free throw and that freshman power forward Samantha Cowles also scored her first high school bucket in the opening quarter. To start the second quarter, the Panthers went on a 6-2 run behind hot shooting from junior guard Christy Cruz to close to within two at 13-11.

“You could tell we were a little bit nervous when we started, so we made little mistakes,” senior guard Makayla Mason said. “We kind of got warmed up because we started playing better on defense and offense.”

The Panthers simply had no answer for the Knights’ full-court pressure, which produced a stunning 27 steals in the game. “Once we learned how to shut down their offense, it gave us more of a change to build a bigger lead,” Mason said.

After allowing 11 second-quarter points, the Knights only allowed the Panthers six second-half points and none in the fourth quarter. Barraz was the primary burglar for the Knights with seven steals, but she had accomplices: senior small forward Abby Robison with 5, Mason with 4, Cowles with 3 and Schumann, senior guard Abby Soto and freshman forward Lily Hobbs with 2. After struggling to find her shooting range in the first quarter, Mason heated up over the game’s final three quarters to score a team high 14 points. She credited Schumann with setting up her shots with precision passing. Other Knights scorers included Barraz with 11; Schumann, 9; and Cowles, 6. Cruz led all scorers with 20 points in a valiant effort for the visiting Panthers.

“For it being the first time a lot of the team has really played together in an actual game, I feel we played really well together and trusted one another.”

The team that took the court on Tuesday included five freshmen and two sophomores.

Eastside Memorial guard Christy Cruz certainly did her part for the visiting Panthers, scoring 20 of her team’s 22 points to lead all scorers in the game. Photo by Dave Winter.