FAIRFIELD — Problems rebounding and foul trouble doomed the Rodriguez High girls basketball team.
Napa dominated the boards and stayed away from foul problems Friday night in the Mustangs’ own gym on its way to a 61-51 Monticello Empire League victory.
Rodriguez coach Lou Collier was quick to point out his team’s weakness against the Indians.
“I think the problem was we got into foul trouble and it placed us in a position where I had to take out one of our better rebounders and scorers (Alijahnae Lockett) off the floor,” Collier said. “I basically had to sit her the whole third quarter. Once that happened it kind of took away a little bit of our offense and some of the stuff we wanted to do.”
The third quarter was definitely a problem for the Mustangs (7-10, 0-1 MEL) as the Indians (9-9, 1-0 MEL) outscored them 12-4. Rodriguez also had four of its 13 turnovers in the quarter, while Napa had only one of its 21, 12 of which came in the opening eight minutes.
Rodriguez came out strong in the opening quarter and took advantage of Napa’s mistakes, converting those 12 turnovers into a 16-9 advantage. Jophiea Irvin scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the quarter, including her team’s first eight points.
But the Indians rallied to take a 31-29 lead into the break, thanks to multiple second-chance baskets. Miranda Holman helped rally Napa by scoring 13 of her game-high 22 points in the period.
Then came the poor third quarter – and rebounding – for the Mustangs before both teams played evenly over the final eight minutes, with each team scoring 18 points.
Collier couldn’t talk enough about how his team couldn’t control the boards.
“Napa came out and did a good job of rebounding,” Collier said. “They just outrebounded us tonight and kept us off the boards. Once you get second-chance shots, as many times as they did, it’s really hard to win a basketball game.”
Collier wasn’t buying that a switch to the MEL from the Solano County Athletic Conference this season made any difference.
“My attitude is basketball is basketball, no matter what league that you’re in,” the coach said. “You have to come in and play solid basketball, you can win no matter what league you’re in. You just have to be focused and play your game. (Napa) did a good job of taking us out of our game.”
Briana Hayles finished with 10 points for the Mustangs, while Lockett had eight.
The Mustangs (15-2) dominated the JV game, defeating the Indians 47-25. Destiny Greenwood led Rodriguez with 14 points and Unique Woodlief chipped-in eight.
Both teams are back in action Tuesday at home against Vintage.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.