RIPON — Practice paid off for the Timberwolves.
Sierra High coach Martha Spivey revealed that her team worked on the low-post moves prior to Tuesday’s non-league contest at Ripon Christian, including blocking out on rebounds.
The result s of that was a 44-40 victory.
“They got a lot of second-chance points,” said Knights coach Ed Mulder of the Timberwolves’ efforts in the second quarter.
That’s when his team was outscored 16-5 with Kayla Wilson leading the way. The senior captain for Sierra scored most of her 15 points in that span.
“Our defense created for our offense,” said Spivey.
She added: “We finished off our shots and we got good open looks (at the basket).”
The Timberwolves (2-0) led 10-9 after the opening period, increasing their margin 26-14 at the half thanks to their strong second-quarter showing.
“I challenged our girls at halftime to do a better job blocking out (on the boards),” Mulder said.
Ripon Christian (2-3) took the challenge to heart and slowly climbed back into the game.
Baskets by Elizabeth Weststeyn, Molly Hoeksema and Jessica Van Vliet cut into the deficit, 32-25. But Sierra responded with pressure defense sparked by senior guard Devi Coglio, who capped off several second-half steals with uncontested layups.
She finished with a game-high 16 points.
Down 36-26, the Knights opened the final period with Hoeksema burying a trey. But the Timberwolves’ Wilson was quick to respond by drilling one from beyond the arc.
Ripon Christian finished out strong, outscoring Sierra 8-2 as time expired. Nicole Graham caught fire, hitting 7 of her team-high 14 points.
Jessica Orozco chipped in with 11 for the Knights.
The Timberwolves relied on defense down the stretch with Lindsey Walljasper coming up with a pair of a rebounds and a block in the final minute of the game. She added eight points.
“It’s always good to play a good team in the preseason,” Mulder said, praising the play of Sierra.
What’s more, he was pleased with his team’s improved play in the second half.
“They showed a strong desire to win,” Mulder added.
Ripon Christian 14
Yessica Salcedo scored 12 points for Sierra, while Renae Heida accounted for half of Ripon Christian’s production with seven.