BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH — The Bellarmine-Jefferson High and Sierra Canyon girls’ basketball teams struggled mightily with their shooting during the first half of their nonleague game Tuesday.
A barrage of attempts from the field continually missed their mark and converted free throws were hard to come by for both the Guards and Trailblazers during the first two quarters.
Luckily for Bell-Jeff, it finally began to sink its shots in the third quarter, thanks to a fine shooting burst from senior Rishonda Napier. A scoring spurt in the opening minutes of the third gave the Guards the momentum they needed to eventually earn a 66-43 victory at home.
In the first half, Bell-Jeff and Sierra Canyon converted just 17 of 68 shot attempts from the field and made three of 19 attempts from the free-throw line.
“Our shooting was atrocious in that first half,” said Bell-Jeff Coach Jaclyn Johnson, whose squad improved to 9-7. “I don’t think it was about not playing well, we were playing well. We were executing, we were playing how we wanted to play, we were getting the looks we wanted and a lot of them were layups. We just weren’t making our shots.”
After leading, 25-17, at the half, the Guards’ offense began to click in the early portion of the third quarter. Bell-Jeff — No. 7 in Division IVAA — made five of its first nine field-goal attempts to began the stanza. With 2:46 remaining in the quarter, Bell-Jeff increased its lead to 47-21 after a basket by Miriah Bankhead that helped fuel a 22-4 run.
Napier, a two-time All-CIF Southern Section selection, led the charge during that run. The guard tallied 11 of her game-high 24 points in the third and had three three-pointers on the night.
“After those first two quarters we decided that we weren’t going to put our heads down when we missed our shots because we’re not the type of team that is going to miss forever,” Napier said. “We just kept taking our shots and eventually they started to fall.”
The push in the third quarter helped the Guards take a 51-27 advantage into the final quarter.
Bell-Jeff also received a solid game from senior Jasmine Smith, who tallied 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Sierra Canyon (9-6) — No. 15 in Division IVAA — was paced by Kennedy Burke with 18 points.