FAIRFIELD — It was a true senior night as the home team came away with a crosstown rival victory.
The Rodriguez High girls basketball team sent out five senior starters on its way to a 61-37 Monticello Empire League victory over Armijo, Friday.
The Mustangs (14-10, 6-2 MEL) only had a 10-point cushion to begin the fourth quarter but ran away late as they held the Indians (9-16, 3-6 MEL) to one basket in the quarter – outscoring Armijo 17-3.
“Our defense helped us win,” Rodriguez coach Lou Collier said. “We took away their shooters. ”We saw what (Armijo) were trying to do on offense and started taking away their outside shooters.”
“We weren’t able to adapt,” Indians coach Lawrence Trigg said. “Rodriguez figured out how to win this game. They threw out different defenses and we were not able to adapt. We were totally lost.”
Armijo wasn’t out the whole game though, clawing back from the moment they went down 13-5 with 3 minutes, 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
After an Indians timeout at the 3-minute, 19-second, the Indians went on an 11-2 run – putting them up 16-15 – the only Armijo lead of the game.
The run was started by a Tiffini Mestas basket close to the hoop. The momentum was shifted though after an Aniyah Ruffin put-back on a missed Noemi Manzo free throw.
The Mustangs immediately took the lead back after a pair of free throws from senior captain Janessa Boling – giving Rodriguez the lead for good.
The shots were not falling in the second quarter as both teams combined for 8 of 27 (29 percent) from the floor, with the Mustangs barely outscoring the visitors 10-8.
The only major advantage the Indians had over Rodriguez in the first half was rebounding – grabbing 22 to the home team’s 10. Eight were from Armijo’s Passion Ware.
The shooting woes continued in the third quarter for Armijo as it did not make a basket until Jada Williams hit a 3-pointer with 3:54 left on the clock.
In that time, the Mustangs scored nine points – making their first four shots of the quarter.
Daraja Carroll started the period with a shot under the basket. Briana Hayles hit a floater from the middle of the key. Boling sank a corner 3-pointer and Destiny Greenwood capped off the run with a layup.
Genna Smith had six points in the third for Rodriguez – ending the night with 12.
The fourth quarter was where the seniors really shined as all of the team’s 17 points came from seniors in the fourth.
Boling led Rodriguez with 19 points – eight of which came from the fourth quarter.
Boling hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth, made a three-point play on the Mustangs’ next possession and capped off her night with a fast break score – faking a pass before she made the layup.
“The game meant a lot to me,” Boling said. “It’s my last time playing with my team at home. Last year I did not have a good year and wanted to come out and prove people wrong.”
About the loss, Trigg said, “We decided to have one of our worst game in a long time. ”We didn’t run an offensive play all day. We started with too much individual play. We got into the mentality of scoring quickly instead of running our plays.”
Rodriguez travels to Vacaville and looks to wrap up a second place finish in the MEL, Tuesday.
The Mustangs JV was not as successful in its game, falling 69-58 to the Indians. Audrey Parker led Armijo with 20, while Sierra Chapman had 19 and Danee Lockhart added 10.
Tajmonet McIntyre led the Mustangs with 16 points, while Caitlin Parish was next with nine.