Hilmar High notched its first Trans Valley League win Thursday night with a 62-57 victory over Riverbank High at home. The Lady Yellowjackets (13-3 overall, 1-2 TVL) struggled early with inaccurate shooting and a lack of offensive rebounds, but by the end of the first quarter they had beat the Bruins (11-5 overall, 1-2 TVL) back and taken the game’s momentum with fast break layups and a peppering of perimeter shots.
“Our lack of height has been a challenge but we settled down and our rebounding improved quite a bit,” Hilmar’s head coach Don Inman said. “The tempo we got into wore Riverbank down and negated their height advantage.”
“We try to make a tempo that we’re comfortable at and that the other team isn’t used to,” Inman added.
The tandem of sophomore Kinsey Pettigrew and junior Dominique Miranda helped lift the ‘Jackets past Riverbank in the first half as the two drove towards the basket often. The increased tempo didn’t give the Bruins a chance to utilize their height and nab offensive rebounds. Without the ability to limit Hilmar’s possessions, Riverbank quickly found itself playing from behind. Riverbank nearly retook the lead, pulling within two points after trailing by as much as 10, but back to back treys from senior Savannah Gemperle in the final seconds of the half killed the potential comeback and gave the ‘Jackets a 36-26.
“Dominique’s first half was the key to the game. Her offensive output really helped us and got us back in the game, and we never looked back,” Inman said.
With the lead and their strength established, the ‘Jackets turned to the towering Gemperle twins who used solid positioning to dominate the boards. Riverbank outscored Hilmar in the second half, but the first half effort was enough to weather the storm and walk away with the win.
Miranda and Pettigrew led the game with 16 points with Savannah Gemperle right behind them with 14 points. The Gemperle twins finished the night with 12 rebounds apiece.
Hilmar must now prepare for Monday’s home game against Escalon High as its players continue their quest towards the top of the TVL.
“For our confidence, the win was huge. We had to get that monkey off our back,” Inman said. “I think night in and night out, whatever team plays best is going to win in this league.”