A dozen or so children raced onto the floor after the first quarter at Moorpark High on Tuesday, oblivious to the announcer’s pleas that they remain in the stands.
The youngsters could have been forgiven for thinking the game was over. Moorpark was well on its way to a sloppy, 63-48 victory over Nordhoff that was more lopsided than the score indicates.
The result, which leaves the teams tied for the Frontier League lead with one game to play, was sweet revenge for the Musketeers (20-2, 8-1 in league play), who suffered their only league loss of the past two seasons at Nordhoff on Jan. 21.
Sophomore forward Damaris Hinojosa led the way for Moorpark, scoring 16 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. Senior point guard Tracey Milburn scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds.
“We knew we’d had an awful night that first game [against Nordhoff] but we also knew we’d be a different team when we played them again,” Hinojosa said. “We played four hard quarters and that’s why we won.”
Nordhoff led, 5-1, midway through the first quarter. But Moorpark went on a 13-2 run, helped significantly when Christen Roper, the Rangers’ 6-foot-4 center, departed after committing her second foul with 2:32 to play in the quarter.
Late in the second quarter, Moorpark led, 26-17, then went on a 14-4 run to close out the half with a 40-21 lead. Again, the Musketeers were aided when Roper departed, this time with 2:39 to play in the half after picking up her third foul.
“The plan was to drive into [Roper] and get her to have three fouls quick,” Hinojosa said. “We pretty much had control at halftime.”
Moorpark made only 35% of its shots from the field but made up for its inaccuracy by outrebounding the Rangers, 49-34. Nordhoff (19-4, 8-1) shot only 30%.
“They use great technique, especially [Hinojosa and Milburn],” Nordhoff Coach Jack Smith said. “They know how to get position on a bigger person and then out-jump them.”
The Musketeers also displayed strong defense, causing 13 Nordhoff turnovers while committing only seven themselves.
“We gave up 20 points in the third quarter the last time we played [Nordhoff],” Hinojosa said. “So this time we practiced defense for a week straight.”
Nordhoff’s Erin Barker scored 17 points and Roper had 15 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. Point guard Nell Becker, averaging 15 points, was held to eight.