FAIRFIELD — The Rodriguez High girls basketball team made the second-half comeback the Denver Broncos could only dream of.
And it still wasn’t enough.
The Mustangs trailed Monticello Empire League-leading Napa 39-19 at the half and rallied to take a one-point lead in the final minute of regulation before the Indians pulled out a 62-58 victory in overtime, Tuesday.
“I’m proud of the girls and how hard they fought,” Rodriguez coach Lou Collier said. “They could’ve laid down the second half, but they fought. They fought. To come back from a 20-point deficit is a big deal.”
Especially with how poorly the Mustangs (12-10, 4-2 MEL) played in the first half. They made just 6 of 25 shots (24 percent), and had 20 turnovers, most of which were unforced.
“We weren’t putting the ball in the basket and were getting too many turnovers,” Collier said. “You turning the ball over eliminates the opportunity to shoot. It seems every time we turned the ball over they went down and scored.”
The second half couldn’t have been more different.
Down 45-25, Rodriguez went on a 16-0 run, fueled by four blocks by Destiny Greenwood, and forced seven turnovers.
A basket by Janessa Boling started the surge, which was capped by Greenwood hitting one of two free throws to make it 45-41 with 26 seconds to go in the period.
“Our defensive intensity just picked up,” Rodriguez coach Lou Collier said. “The girls just fought hard, getting into the passing lanes, getting steals, taking them out of their offense allowed us to get back into the game.”
Napa (21-1, 6-0 MEL) led 46-41 entering the fourth quarter and upped its advantage to 50-43.
Then the Mustangs made another comeback. Az’hiana Musolf, who scored all 10 of her points after intermission, made back-to-back baskets, the latter a spinning bank shot over 6-foot-2 Madison Van Zandt, to make it 50-49.
The teams traded baskets before Briana Hayles scored on a left-handed layup, giving the Mustangs their first and only lead with 31 seconds to go in regulation.
Kelsey Maday, who led Napa with 17 points, hit the second of two free throws with 24 seconds to go and the Mustangs missed on a potential game-winning shot, sending it to overtime with the scored tied at 53.
Van Zandt and Hayles each scored in the opening minute of the extra period and Kellie Williams inside basket put the visitors ahead to stay with 3:01 remaining.
A Greenwood free throw made it 57-56, but the Indians scored the next five points to put the game away.
“We didn’t take care of the basketball (in overtime),” Collier said. “We made some turnovers at a time we needed to come down and get a shot.”
Hayles led the Mustangs with 17 points, while Greenwood had 14.
After Maday, Van Zandt was next for Napa with 11, while Jasmine Washington had 10.
“They’re a good team,” Collier said of the Indians. “When the pressure was on they continued to play. . . . Darcy does a good job. I don’t think they’ve seen too many things that are new to them.”
Napa won the JV game 68-24 with the Mustangs getting eight points from Tajmonet McIntyre and seven from Courtne Flores.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmer.