By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO December 6, 2005 The Tri-Valley and Monticello varsity girls basketball teams began their 2005-2006 seasons with a non-league game against each other on Friday night at Monticello High School.
However, the start of the season was delayed more than an hour.
Just before the game between the T-V and Monticello junior varsity squads was set to tip-off, Monticello school officials discovered what they thought was a water main break in the boys locker room near the main gymnasium. Players and spectators waited in the adjacent smaller gymnasium as school officials further investigated the water situation.
Shortly after 6 p.m., officials determined that the problem was with a plug in a pipe and not with a water main. Everyone then returned to the main gym and the JV game began.
But barely one minute into the third quarter of the contest, everyone again moved to the small gym after the schools fire alarms sounded. After about 10 minutes, school officials announced that it was a false alarm and players, coaches, officials and fans returned to the gym.
Once the varsity game began at 8:10 p.m., it did not take long for Monticello to take control of the contest. The Lady Panthers used an aggressive, smothering press defense in the opening half which in turn led to several scoring opportunities off of steals and/or T-V turnovers.
Monticello (1-0) held an 18-3 lead after the first period and didnt look back. The Lady Panthers went on to record a 51-15 victory over the Lady Bears.
During a 45-second span in the opening quarter, Liila Mack converted close-range shots on three consecutive Lady Panthers possessions. That sequence was indicative of how the Monties used their defense and height advantage to open up a big lead.
Mack led the Monticello offensive attack as she finished the evening with a double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds. She also made nine steals and dished out three assists.
Ana Rivera added nine points, five rebounds and six steals for the Lady Panthers.
Also contributing to the Monties victory were Nicole Fox, who scored eight points, Brittney Morse, who netted six points, and Iris Robinson, who made eight steals.
T-V (0-1) was led by Kanacia James, who scored seven points.
We have been working really hard on that press during our practices, Atack said of the defensive formation that shut down the Lady Bears.
That press allowed the Lady Panthers to hold a commanding 33-6 lead at halftime. So Atack, displaying the sportsmanship she has believed in throughout her coaching career, did not use the press during the third and fourth quarters.
This was a good start, Atack said of beginning the season with a victory. But we still have some things to work on.
Tri-Valley Coach Karen Furman praised the Monties for their performance.
They had more size than we did and were able to get some baskets inside, Furman said. They played very well tonight.
The Lady Bears leader noted that her team has a lot of inexperience as all five starters from last years squad graduated this past June. But she was pleased with what she saw from her team as the game progressed.
We did a better job in the second half, Furman commented. We still have some areas of the game where we need to improve.
But I was pleased that we didnt give up and kept hustling the whole game, Furman added.