Denair High bounced back from last week's fourth-quarter letdown against Le Grand High with its most dominant performance of the season on Monday. Hosting Delhi High, the Coyotes (6-7 overall; 2-2 SAL) controlled the court both offensively and took the win with a score of 72-44 — their highest output yet. Denair is now 2-2 in the Southern Athletic League and is set to face league frontrunner Gustine High on Tuesday.
“We concentrated, for the last week, on just getting our defense much, much better and stronger. And on offense, we've been working on some different things to just try and be better scorers,” Denair head coach Mike Turpin said. “Our only goal right now is to make it to playoffs.”
Turpin used Monday's game not only as a chance to pick up another win and vie for a top-three league finish, but to also distribute minutes among his bench and boost their on-court experience. Denair opened the game with 12 unanswered points and led 20-6 by the beginning of the second quarter, giving its coach the perfect opportunity to strengthen his team ahead of Tuesday's big game.
Cheyenne Rutherford, Selena Ortiz and Katie Hernandez were among those who worked on their offensive game as Rutherford finished with a team high 18 points with Oriz and Park coming in with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
“Cheyenne's a perfectionist and she's just been working really hard this year, staying after practices and working on her free throws...She just wants to get better and better and she's improving,” Turpin said.
Katie Hernandez, Denair's top scorer on the season, was forced to play a mostly defensive roll on Monday with the Hawks keying in on her and finished with 10 rebound and four steals.
“They tried to take her away and that left Cheyenne open,” Turpin said of Hernandez.
Denair plays at home again on Tuesday when it hosts the Redskins. The two played earlier in the season at the Big Valley Christian Tournament where the Coyotes dropped a three-point lead in the final minute of regulation.
“A win against Gustine would be huge,” Turpin said. “It's a huge game for us. We've got to knock off one of these top three teams.”
The Hawks (1-8 overall; 0-3 SAL) get the chance to face Gustine first, however, when they host the Redskins on Thursday and continue their search for a second win of the season.