STOCKTON - In the words of senior captain Kendra Banks, the Edison High girls basketball team has adopted a new mantra for this season.
“No sympathy,” Banks said. “We’re going to press all game. Even if it’s a half-court press, we’re going to press.”
The Vikings may only be four games into their schedule. But so far, the fresh attitude is working wonders.
Edison opened Thursday’s 41st Stagg Delta Queens Tony Contreras Classic with a 74-24 win over West in a first-round contest held at Stagg High.
Tournament play continues today, with the championship set for Saturday.
Joy Almendarez led the Vikings (3-1) with 27 points, including five 3-pointers. Adamari Valenzuela had 12 points while Banks and Marisol Lopez-Kidd each scored 10.
For West (2-4), Melisa Toilolo had 10 points and Alexia Croffet had five.
After Edison jumped out to a 12-1 lead early in the first, and later a 34-11 halftime lead, the “no sympathy” mindset came out in full effect. For the most part, the Wolf Pack was too bothered by the Vikings’ press to try and cut into Edison’s growing lead.
“We want to apply a lot of pressure,” Edison coach Diondre Hawthorne said, “and be able to play with the intensity of the top teams once playoffs start.”
The constant pressure channeled into constant points, many of them from the hands of Almendarez. The younger sister of graduated Viking Celeste Almendarez, the senior guard said she was focused on knocking down her shots against West’s zone defense.
“They were zoning us, and we needed shooters on the outside,” Joy Almendarez said. “So I was just trying to make my 3’s and play defense.”
In all, it was a dominating performance for Hawthorne’s squad. There’s still things to work on, like taking good shots and communicating on defense. With Banks, Almendarez and more, though, the talent is there. It’s just a matter of putting in the work.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Hawthorne said. “We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”
Lathrop 79, McNair 39
Mary Cotton led the way with 25 points for the Spartans, with Ayon Carter adding 14 points and Kaysey Matela contributing nine. Lathrop (3-0) led 47-30 at halftime, and didn’t look back.
For McNair (2-2), Danesah Thompson had 20 points and Alayssia Townsell added eight.
Livingston 62, Chavez 23
The Titans got six points from C. Gardner, but trailed 22-0 after the first quarter and were never able to recover.
Laguna Creek 73, Stagg 7
Stagg opened its host tournament with a tough loss to Laguna Creek.
Contact reporter Nick Woodard at (209) 546-8272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@nwoodard25.