BUTTE VALLEY – You already knew that the Durham High girls’ basketball team was able to quickly break the return.
The Trojans demonstrated this once and for all on Tuesday, when they launched an 11 point deficit in the first half in a 62-52 victory over Trinity in the Northern Section semifinal.
On Saturday they played again behind the D-V championship against the top seeded Portola, facing a half-time deficit 20-11 after digging a first hole 12-2.
The rally took place over the course of a third quarter which saw the Trojans make an 11-2 run beaten by Karena Bryant, then tie the game to 25-all on a free throw by Melody Elwood with 35 seconds remaining. But on Portola’s next trip up the floor, the Tigers charged the clock in less than five seconds and brought the ball to Annie Folchi for a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
From there, the Tigers opened the fourth by scoring the top 10 points of the quarter to take command command. The Trojan comeback effort, once almost completed, failed. Portola (29-3) took home the first prize of the section with a victory of 43-28. It was the first appearance of the Tigers in the section championship since the 2011-12 season.
“We are always able to come back. We are always able to play to win, and I think they showed it in the third quarter,” said Durham head coach Alvyna Goodwin. “In the end, I almost ran out of gas. The slow rotations of the defense hurt us and they got 3 “open” who made their way “.
The third quarter started with Elwood and Bryant’s back-to-back baskets in paint, cutting Portola’s lead to five, before Durham forced a shooting clock violation on the other side.
Devani Sparks then emptied a base jumper for the Trojans, before Margaret Canseco of Portola got an offensive rebound and rebound, part of his 18 game points.
With less than four minutes to go, Bryant went wild on the open field for a few quick laps, the latter of which took Durham in 22-21.
Portola’s Emily Sheridan hit a 3 with 1 minute and 20 seconds to go into the third, before Bryant fired from 3 as the ball moved around the edge and in.
The 3 of Folchi before the buzzer, even if a small moment, gave impetus to the Tigers. Sophie Ward took a steal in the backcourt leading to a layup, before Canseco scored two baskets of ladder and Sheridan, who added 15 points, emptied his second 3.
Durham’s Alison Smith stopped the ride on a jumper with 3:10 left with the Trojans at a disadvantage for 38-27.
Durham finished the last eight minutes scoring only three points. The start of the Trojan game was similar in the first quarter of four points. Both teams had a number of hurried and unusual billed hits in the beginning, possibly due to some nerves from playing in a section championship.
“I think their approach wasn’t (to) talk about it – it’s just another game,” said Goodwin. “Which is fantastic in theory, but when you come here and you are in front of all these people on a larger field, I think it really starts hitting home. We took some shots that we normally wouldn’t have had, not at our own pace normal, and I think it hurts. “
Bryant led Durham with 11 points while Elwood added nine.
Trojans (19-7) participate in the CIF Northern California Regional playoffs; it just depends on where they are sown when the parentheses are released on Sunday. Wherever they land, Goodwin has no doubts that his team will reunite since Friday’s defeat.
“I told them this is what we do: let’s shoot,” said Goodwin. “We are not abandoners, we are fighters. I really believe we have a great chance of going out and winning our first state game because these guys don’t give up and that’s what brought us here.”
Portola 43, Durham 28
Following: CIF NorCal playoff, TBA.