After breezing through league play with an undefeated record, the Lady Aztecs began their playoff journey with a matchup against the Cypress Lady Centurions at home on Thursday night. However, similar to all of their blowout wins in league, the Lady Aztecs ran all over Cypress in a lopsided 62-13 win.
“Normally, we play a pretty tough non-league schedule, and during league, we make sure to mix in additional games as well and these really help prepare us for bigger games like these,” says Head Coach Jose Herrera.
The preparation throughout the course of the regular season seemingly paid off as the Lady Aztecs held the Lady Centurions to four points during the entire first half. Keppel’s pestering defense and up-tempo style of play overwhelmed Cypress from the get-go, entering halftime with a 29 point lead.
As the third quarter began, the Lady Aztecs hit a road bump as they gave up a handful of baskets, missed a few layups and turned the ball over numerous times. However, they quickly rebounded thanks to nine third quarter points by junior Vanessa Aguirre to take a commanding 56-10 lead. The Lady Aztecs went to their bench to finish off the game, and they stifled the Lady Centurions on defense to close out the 62-13 victory.
In terms of what attributed to their solid play, the girls were quick to point to their defense. “We were able to sustain our intensity through our defense and we hustled and scrambled to prevent them from scoring,” says junior guard Catherine Dea.
Though he knows the talent and potential of his team, Herrera wanted this game to be a building block for the girls to use to further their success in CIF.
“Last year, we lost in our first game of the playoffs after receiving a first round bye and that left a bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouths. Seeing how the girls have the experience and know the process, we just wanted to use this game to get our feet wet in preparation for the rest of the playoffs,” says Herrera.
Keppel’s win sets them up for an away game against Tesoro High School on Saturday night for the next round of CIF. They will certainly be up to the challenge, despite the short amount of time that the team has to prepare.
“During practice, we have already started putting in things to plan for Tesoro since we have film on them. Hopefully, they run the same stuff that we have been seeing, but regardless, we’ll be ready to go,” says Herrera.