Denair High knew Monday’s matchup with the girls of Ripon Christian High was going to be a challenge. Instead of accepting defeat the Coyotes (5-6 Southern) challenged the Knights (10-1 Southern) early, using their defense to open up scoring opportunities and build confidence. In the end Ripon Christian was too much though, and Denair fell to the Knights 60-28.
“It was size,” Denair’s head coach Daniel Rodriguez said. “That’s what we lack is size.”
The size differential between the two teams was indeed a major factor in the game. On average the Knights’ players stood around five inches taller than the Coyotes, creating mismatches under the boards. Still, Denair managed to put pressure on Ripon Christian in the first half. Unfortunately, the Coyotes had trouble converting turnovers and possessions into points. More than half of Denair’s first half shots were from the three point line but only one trey hit its mark. By halftime the Knights led 31-13.
“They played well in the first half,” Rodriguez said.
In the third quarter Denair’s Courtney Gomes (16 points) helped the Coyotes pull within 15 points of the Knights with two three pointers, one of which included a bonus point. As the game wore on fatigue quickly set in for Denair, as a number of the girls were still recovering from weekend illnesses. Ripon Christian continued to score and by the fourth quarter a win was out of the Coyotes’ reach.
Denair now looks forward to its Thursday night game with Le Grand High, a must win if the Coyotes are to make playoffs.
“We got to win the next three games, we can’t lose,” Rodriguez said. “We feel pretty confident. These girls want it.”
To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.