FREMONT – The Lady Giants found themselves in a situation they hadn’t yet experienced this season.
In its first five games of the season, Ross entered the fourth quarter either holding a comfortable lead or facing a sizable deficit. Monday night, hosting St. Ursula, the Lady Giants found themselves in a one-point game entering the final eight minutes.
Ross handled it like a group of seasoned veterans.
The Lady Giants scored the first six points of the fourth quarter, taking a five-point lead and never again led by less than three in taking a 43-40 win over the Arrows.
“No matter what the situation is, no matter what the score is, pay attention to the situation,” coach Juan Vela said of his message to his players entering the fourth quarter. “Know if we need a score or to hold the ball and waste time. I felt like our girls made the right decisions in the fourth quarter and that’s what helped us win the ball game.”
Trailing 30-29 to begin the final period, Ross took the lead on a drive to the basket by Olivia Baptista. A minute later, Brooklyn Baptista found Rachel Gore for a jumper. Just 30 seconds after that, Olivia Baptista drew a pair of defenders to her as she penetrated the paint, she then made a beautiful bounce pass to a wide-open Jasannah Sabiers for an easy bucket and a 34-29 lead.
Though it was Sabiers’ first bucket of the night, she’d made a major impact even before she entered the scoresheet. The 5-foot-11 senior battled in the post all night against a bigger, stronger St. Ursula frontcourt and more than held her own. Sabiers grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds while also taking away three steals and dishing out three assists.
“I think the big thing with Jasannah was she was at the right spot at the right time,” Vela said. “On defense she had a couple steals because she was right where she was supposed to be and couple balls went her way. Offensively, she read the drives right, Olivia had a really beautiful pass to Jasannah for a big, crunch-time moment.
“As far as rebounds, she just battled. She battled with the girls, she won some, lost some, but I thought she was pretty consistent tonight.”
Sabiers scored again a minute later on an offensive rebound put-back to put Ross ahead 37-31 with 3:40 to play.
“For me, personally, I think it’s fun to play girls that are bigger than me,” said Sabiers, who finished with four points. “It makes me more aggressive and I think I just play better as a whole than if I’m playing somebody my size. I just try to tell myself that I need to do it.”
Sabiers’ second bucket was Ross last field goal, as the Lady Giants made 6-of-10 free throws down the stretch to keep St. Ursula at arm’s length so when the Arrows hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, it was irrelevant, serving only to trim the margin-of-victory from six to three points.
“Good or bad, we got it done and that’s all that matters,” Vela said. “whether it’s pretty or ugly, it’s getting it done.”
Olivia Baptista led all scorers with 13 points while grabbing seven rebounds and five assists. Gore finished with 10 points. Brooklyn Baptista and Molly Mies each scored seven with Baptista having a pair of steals and assists while Mies grabbed nine boards.
The Lady Giants improve to 4-2 overall, 2-2 in the TRAC, and return to action Thursday when they travel to Oregon Clay.
Fremont Ross 43, St. Ursula 40
- URSILA (40)
Emily Savage 10, Marie Panfil 6, Gabby Whitzel 10, Lila Kalman 10, Alayna Miller 4.
FRMEONT ROSS (43)
Brooklyn Baptista 7, Olivia Baptista 13, Rachel Gore 10, Jasannah Sabiers 4, Marissa Overmyer 2, Molly Mies 7.