The La Cañada High girls' basketball team has been digging holes it can't climb out of so far this season. It was the same story two games into the La Cañada New Year's Ball Classic.
Spartans Coach Tamar Hill said the problem is her team often won't find a rhythm until the fourth quarter of games.
"We just need confidence in ourselves that we can finish," Hill said.
The Spartans were defeated 49-37 by Burbank in the first round of the tournament Monday — unable to overcome a 22-14 deficit at the end of the first half. La Cañada was also outscored 25-10 in the first two quarters against Moorpark before falling to the Musketeers, 45-36, on Tuesday.
"The good news is we don't give up," Hill said. "We're not rolling over and dying but that learning curve is steep."
La Cañada (4-9) outscored the Musketeers (5-5) by a 20-16 margin in the fourth quarter, putting up more points in the final quarter than they had the first three (16).
"We get into a hole and we have to dig back out of it, so that kind of desperation makes us fight hard," Hill said.
Tuesday night's late push came up short for La Cañada because of struggles at the free-throw line. The Spartans missed eight free throws in the final two minutes of the game.
Kristene Hossepian, the captain of the Spartans, is still encouraged by the improvement she's seen from the team so far.
"We're grabbing on to things pretty quick but it's going to take some time," said Hossepian, who averaged 10.5 points and five steals in the first two games of the tournament. "But if you look where we started at the beginning of the season and where we are now, we've come leaps and bounds."
Hossepian and Courtney Chen each scored 11 points against Moorpark.