The Sierra girls basketball team went into halftime leading by a comfortable margin during its Valley Oak League opener against visiting Oakdale Wednesday night.
The Timberwolves (0-1 VOL, 8-6 overall) couldn’t close it out against visiting the Mustangs, who rallied for their first league win since the 2010 season, 40-34.
Oakdale (1-0, 10-4) went 23 of 29 from the free-throw line, including 20 of 23 in the second half and 12 of 12 in the fourth quarter.
“The difference in the game was our free-throw shooting without a doubt,” Oakdale head coach Justin Schwitters said. “At the end of the day, that’s the game. We picked up the intensity a little bit in the second half and I’m proud of the girls for coming back and fighting like that. Sierra was solid.”
The T’Wolves, who trailed 9-6 after the first quarter, outscored Oakdale 16-3 in the second and took a 22-12 lead into the break.
The T’Wolves went 10 of 25 from the charity line.
“We didn’t capitalize by making our free throws,” Sierra head coach Martha Spivey said. “We gave the referees a reason to call fouls. We were a step late and went away from everything that was working for us. We put ourselves in bad positions.”
Due to illness, Sierra was missing its standout center Allie Walljasper, who is headed to LSU on a softball scholarship next fall.
“(Sierra) came out and competed,” Schwitters added. “I know they were missing Allie in the middle, and that makes a big difference. It’s a big win if you could steal one on the opposing team’s court, especially down 10 at halftime. They will definitely bring it the next time they’re at our place.”
Sophomore Kayla Wilson (five points) knocked down Sierra’s only 3-pointer in the second frame to give the T’Wolves a 20-12 cushion. Wilson recorded an assist on the next trip down the court after hooking up with Nour Hamza for her only two points to make up the halftime score.
Sierra’s Haley Silva (three points) knocked down a pair of free throws to stretch her team’s lead out to 12 early in the third quarter before the Mustangs started their run.
The T’Wolves went cold offensively in the last two quarters and scored seven and five in each of those last two stanzas.
Tiffany Harris (four points), Keanna Barber (three points) and Celine Barber (two points) were all part of the contributing effort offensively.
Sierra junior Kristen Maestretti led her squad with the game-high 13.
Oakdale’s Courtney Rogers had eight and Christiana Cobarruvias 10 (all in the second half). Micaela Maaske and Alyssa Freeman each netted 10 for the Mustangs, too.
Sierra, which had a three-point lead after three quarters but was outscored 14-5 to close the game, will visit cross-town rival East Union Friday night at 7:15 p.m.
Sierra 52, Oakdale 44
Devi Coglio registered 20 points with eight steals and Trayana Davis had 14 as the T’Wolves improved to 1-0, 8-4 overall. Kendelle Messersmith finished with nine points.
Sierra 43, Oakdale 39
Alissa Tillman led the Timberwolves (1-0 VOL) with 17 points and Vanessa Padilla added 10 in the league opener. Aileen Aleman, Rothneary Sok and Krista Harris were solid defensively, respectively.