BURBANK — Despite being the tallest player on the court, Melody Escovedo was nearly invisible in the box score for the first half of Thursday afternoon's summer league basketball game at Providence High.
The Holy Family High junior-to-be was hard to miss in the second half, scoring all of her 12 points and pulling down five of her six rebounds over the final 20 minutes to help her team escape with a 38-37 win over Viewpoint.
"I started to realize I needed to shoot more [in the second half] and get the game going for the girls," said Escovedo, whose final basket of the game was a turnaround jumper on the baseline with 1:20 to play that gave the Gaels a 37-34 lead.
Moments after Escovedo's shot, Holy Family, which was led by a game-high 14 points from Tabitha Ruiz, turned the ball over and Viewpoint capitalized with a free throw to trim the lead to 37-35.
The Patriots would get a chance to go ahead on their next possession, but misfired on a long-range attempt and Escovedo was there for the rebound.
Holy Family point guard Melissa Chan attacked the basket with less than 30 seconds left and was rewarded with a pair of foul shots.
She sank one of two, which proved to be big when the Patriots scored on a putback with a couple of ticks left on the game clock.
"We got our key hoops when we needed them," said Roel Sanchez, who is coaching the Gaels during the summer instead of head coach Ernest Siy. "They hit a lot of important baskets and really our defense, our press, did a good job."
Holy Family got out to a hot start in the first half behind Ruiz, who hit her first three shots from the field for seven quick points. Still, despite leading by as many as six, the Gaels only led by one at the half and had to hold off another Viewpoint run in the second half.
A three-pointer by Ruiz gave Holy Family its biggest lead of the game, 31-24, with 8:48 to play, but Viewpoint responded with a 10-4 run, capped by back-to-back three-pointers, to pull within one point with 1:43 left.
But, until the aforementioned buzzer-beater, Viewpoint was held without a field goal the rest of the way.
"I think the defense stepped it up more," Escovedo said, "because we realized we had to get this win."
Holy Family also got six points from Charisse Talaro and two points, five rebounds and four steals from Kiara Ardinez. Ruiz led the Gaels with nine rebounds.