For the past several years, the Ocean View High girls’ basketball team had looked to the backcourt as a source of stability.
That was in the days when Jackie Moss, Erica Almiranez and Emi Yamasaki were the primary ballhandlers.
The Seahawks’ experience now lies with their post players, and senior center Helen Reynolds set the example she knew her team’s youthful guards could follow.
Reynolds had a season-high 22 points to lead the host Seahawks to a 43-28 win over Estancia in their first pool-play game in the Premier Flight of the Hawk Holiday Classic on Tuesday night.
“I’ve been on this team longer than anyone else,” said Reynolds, who is a three-year starter. “They look to me, and if I’m not consistent, I can’t expect anyone else to be consistent. I realized that I have a lot of pressure with that, as I should. It really gives me motivation to play as hard as I want every single one of my teammates to play.”
Reynolds had 16 points before halftime, helping the Seahawks (2-4) take a 29-12 lead into the break. After speaking with a college coach following the game, she admitted to having added motivation coming into the contest.
“I was told that a few college coaches were going to be looking at me throughout the week,” Reynolds said. “I just kind of assumed that I had to play like they’re all going to be at every game because I never know where they’re going to be.”
Estancia (3-5) battled back in the third quarter, limiting the Seahawks to just four points in the frame. The Eagles’ best offense turned out to be transition layups. Pam Cabezaz was relentless in her pursuit of steals, and she converted several into baskets.
Cabezaz finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and two assists to lead the Eagles. Leslie Escorcia added four points and four steals, and Dayanna Martinez and Queen Ceruti also had four points, apiece.
“It was about three games ago that we really started doing some damage and winning,” Eagles coach Judd Fryslie said. “Even in the second half of the Rancho Alamitos game, we started playing with intensity and almost came back in that game.
“Tonight, at the start of the game, we didn’t have it. [Cabezaz] is the only one that had the intensity that we have had for the last several games.”
Although the Eagles had 18 steals, Seahawks coach Kim Morris had her offense keep the ball in the backcourt, especially in the second half. Morris recognizes that the developmental stage calls for in-game repetitions to learn how to respond to on-ball defenders.
When Estancia cut Ocean View’s lead to 33-26 on a mid-range jump shot by Cabezaz with 7:19 remaining, Morris sought a calming influence on the offensive end. The Seahawks had been sped up, despite holding a double-digit lead for all of the second and third quarters.
Senior small forward Kasey Torres had four points, four rebounds, two blocked shots, a steal and an assist in the fourth quarter to help the Seahawks finish off the victory.
“That’s why I reinserted a couple of seniors back into the lineup in the third and fourth quarters that maybe aren’t as efficient defensively,” Morris said. “I knew that they would bring their experience. Kasey did that in spades.”
Emma Beard had three points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Eva Hernandez had five points, four rebounds and three steals, and Bella Caiazzo added six points and three steals.
Beard, a sophomore guard, said she accepts the responsibility of needing to step up to help the team’s limited returners.
“It’s exciting because with the returners, we can teach new faces that come on our team what varsity is all about and how we can play together,” said Beard, whose team will have a chance to win Pool A when it hosts Century (1-6) on Thursday at 6 p.m. “It’s fun to play together because we have a connection.”
Hawk Holiday Classic
Ocean View 43, Estancia 28
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Estancia 7 – 5 – 11 – 5 — 28
Ocean View 18 – 11 – 4 – 10 — 43
E – Cabezaz 12, Martinez 4, Ceruti 4, Escorcia 4, Meza 2, Kenneth 2.
3-pt. goals – Martinez 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
OV – Reynolds 22, Torres 7, Caiazzo 6, Hernandez 5, Beard 3.
3-pt. goals – Torres 1.
Fouled out – None.