Lady Grizzlies advance to second round after 74-45 victory

In the Grizzlies first test of the postseason, point guard Essence Booker lit up the floor, scoring 24 points and leading the team to a 74-45 victory against the Legacy Longhorns on February 13.

 “I just felt I had to put it in the basket and the team would follow,” Booker said. “Soon everything would take care of itself if we took care of the little things.”

In the first half, the Grizzlies struggled to run the floor, opening the game with turnovers and weak defense in the first quarter. Grizzlies led 21-14 at the end of the first.

“We came out not ready to gut out the details,” women’s varsity coach Billy Hemberger said.

 The pace of play in the second was still slow, scoring just 13 points. However center Alexus Quaadman picked up a pair of blocked shots in the paint, helping hold the Longhorns to just 8 points and maintaining a 34-22 lead at the half.

 Coming out of the gate in the second half, Guard Lalique Sharpe provided solid strength on the floor picking up a steal and knocking out a three as they continued to outscore the Longhorns 20-13 at the end of the third.

  “I always try to make the most of my minutes,” Sharpe said. “I know the better I am the better we are as a team.”

The Grizzlies were up 54-35 at the end of the third, when their defense picked up the pace.

“Lala patiently waited for her number to be called to change the pace of the game in our favor,” Hemberger said. “That’s a testament to her preparation and experience on the court. The bench is supposed to think defense first and that created offense for us.”

 Scoring another 20 points in the fourth, the Grizzlies secured the victory 74-45.

Quaadman finished with 6 points and 12 rebounds. Shooting forward Kayla Harris had 13 points and 6 steals. Guard Garrisen Freeman helped spark the offense with 10 points and 4 assists.

 This was the Grizzlies last home game, as they finished 10-0 at home and improved their season record to 27-2 and won their 24th consecutive game.

 The Grizzlies will take on the Bishop Gorman Gaels in the second round of playoffs at 2 p.m. Thursday at Legacy high school.