Scoring woes hurt Yucaipa in loss to Fontana in Citrus Belt League girl’s basketball

Written by Bob on January 11th, 2010

Marlena Hill scored 17 points in Yucaipa’s, 44-31, loss to the visiting Fontana Lady Steelers, Friday. Hill has averaged 12 points per game for the Lady Thunderbirds.

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YUCAIPA, CA – The quick-footed guard wearing #4 on her jersey hit short-range jumpers, drove the baseline, and connected on two, three-pointers and scored over half her team’s points.

But Marlena Hill’s 17 points weren’t nearly enough as the Yucaipa Lady Thunderbirds lost to the Fontana Lady Steelers, 44-31, in a Citrus Belt League game, Friday, at Yucaipa High School.

Scoring has been a problem all season long as Yucaipa has averaged just 37 points per game in posting a 5-8 record, 0-2 in the CBL.

“We’re having a hard time with our offense right now,” said Yucaipa coach, Anna Richmond. “That’s how it’s been. The defenses have been keying on (Hill). As soon as we get more than one person scoring we’ll be just fine.”

Meanwhile, center, Danielle Mayo, had a big game for Fontana (7-4, 1-1 CBL), leading the Lady Steelers with 16 points. She was also a rebounding and defensive force around the basket. And when Yucaipa went to a full court press, Mayo took the pressure off the guards by helping bring the ball up court.

“She had a great game and has been an outstanding player,” said Fontana coach, Vanessa Castillo said. “She has come a long way and we count on her a lot.”

Fontana held Yucaipa to just 12 points in the second half (4 in the third quarter) with a zone defense that limited Yucaipa getting the ball in the paint. And the defense moved quickly to get up on the Lady Thunderbird’s outside shooters as the ball was passed around the three-point arc.

“We play a zone and the girl’s picked up their game on defense,” Castillo said. “We knew what we needed to do and they went out there and did it.”

The win also snaps a losing streak to Yucaipa that extends back to 2006. In fact, over the past five seasons, Yucaipa has dominated the Steelers in posting a 9-1 record.

Yucaipa started the game by jumping out to 6-0 lead, but Fontana tightened up its zone defense, forcing Yucaipa to take long-range jump shots beyond the three-point line. And the shots refused to fall. By game’s end, Yucaipa had connected on just 4 of 20 three-point attempts.

Fontana finished the first quarter with an 11-9 lead on Mayo’s basket underneath and Bolden’s free throw at the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter the lead bounced back-and-forth. But the Lady Steelers finally surged ahead to stay on Crystal Alvarado’s two free throws with 43-seconds left, and Fontana headed into the locker room at halftime with a 24-19 advantage.

Mayo carried Fontana in the first half, scoring 13 of her 16 points. In the second half, Yucaipa tightened up its defense on Mayo and guard Danielle Bolden. Mayo could manage but a pair of three throws and a basket. But Angelica Valenzuela and Bolden picked up the slack by scoring 7 points each after the break.

“She (Mayo) did her damage in the first half, but Bolden was our problem running their offense and getting the ball to (Mayo),” Richmond said. “We put Norma Perez on (Bolden) denying her the ball and that helped.

“When we went man-to-man we recovered, but we couldn’t pick it up on the offensive end. Against Redlands (a 46-23 loss, with Hill scoring 16) we scored only nine points in the second half. We’ve got to put the ball in the bucket to win.”

YUCAIPA SCORING: Hill 17, Bollinger 7, Jenny Williams 2, Reason 3, and Carly Calbreath 2.

FONTANA SCORING: Bolden 8, Jocelynne Perez 2, Norma Perez 4, Valenzuela 10, Mayo 16, and Alvarado 4.

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