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Santa Rosa Junior College Athletics

Bear Cubs fall to Delta in first Big 8 loss

Bear Cubs fall to Delta in first Big 8 loss

SRJC 53, San Joaquin Delta College 62

            The Bear Cubs (13-1, 2-0), missing two guards due to Covid, hosted the Mustangs (7-5, 1-0) of San Joaquin Delta College, who did not have their second-leading scorer, Anaya Mejia, available to play. The Mustangs scored the first basket after 75 seconds of play. Ashleigh Barr got the Bear Cubs on the scoreboard when she made one free throw with 7:03 on the clock. Lucca Lowenberg's 3-pointer and her 10-foot runner at the halfway point of the quarter put the Bear Cubs in front 6-2. Lexi Derf sank a 3-pointer, and Ciarah Michalik countered with a left-handed scoring drive. Alex Ditizio drained a 3-pointer, and Andraya Perez also sank one from beyond the arc to close to 8-11. Ashleigh Barr cut down the key, caught Michalik's assist near the hoop, and banked in the 2-footer with 1:24 left. Charity Davis swished a 3-pointer with 1:02 remaining. Sheriene Arikat drove, spun, and tossed in the 8-footer to put the Bear Cubs ahead 15-11 by the end of the quarter.

            Ashleigh Barr took the Bear Cubs' first shot of the second quarter and sank the 5-footer off the assist from Ciarah Michalik. The Mustangs made two field goals in a row two minutes later to get to 15-17. The Bear Cubs sank four shots in a row—Taylor Iacopi's 3-pointer, Sheriene Arikat's 6-foot floater, Iacopi's 8-footer, and Meredith Gilbertson's reverse layup—in a span of two minutes for a 26-21 lead. Rose Nevin's putback was followed by Perez's field goal and 3-pointer, which made the Bear Cubs' lead only 28-26. Nevin drew a shooting foul with 2:50 on the clock and made both free throws. Nearly a minute later Selai Niu drove by defenders along the baseline to bank in a layup. With 23 seconds left Derf was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws to put the Mustangs ahead 31-30. Michalik was fouled on a drive with 6 seconds remaining and made just the first free throw to end the half with the score tied at 31.

            The Mustangs scored the first four points of the third quarter on a field goal and two free throws before Alex Ditizio hit a 10-foot pull-up jumper at the 7:00 mark. Nearly a minute later Meredith Gilbertson drew a shooting foul and made just the first free throw. Derf made a basket for a 37-34 margin. On the Bear Cubs' next turn on offense, Ashleigh Barr was fouled and went to the free throw line, where she, too, made just the first free throw. After Derf drained a 3-pointer, Sheriene Arikat hustled in to grab an offensive rebound and scored the putback. Two free throws by Perez gave the Mustangs a 42-37 lead with 2:51 on the clock. The Bear Cubs tallied the last four points of the quarter on Lucca Lowenberg's baseline 18-footer and Arikat's putback to end the period behind by a single point at 41-42.

            Meredith Gilbertson made the first basket of the fourth quarter when she cut across the baseline, caught the assist from Ashleigh Barr on the left side of the hoop, turned in the air, and banked in the shot. The Mustangs scored seven unanswered points before Gilbertson drew a shooting foul at the 5:21 mark. Again she made just the first free throw. About a minute later Barr was fouled on a shot. She made the first free throw but not the second to get to 45-49. The Mustangs added one free throw by Davis and two field goals by Perez, making their advantage 54-45 with 1:05 on the clock. Alex Ditizio swished a 3-pointer 11 seconds later to get to 48-54. The Bear Cubs were forced to foul. The Mustangs made five out of six free throws before Ciarah Michalik caught the inbounds pass and drove the length of the court past defenders to score the layup with 20 seconds left. Perez was fouled after receiving the inbounds pass. She made the first free throw, but the second bounced off the rim. Sheriene Arikat pulled down the rebound and passed to Michalik, who was fouled as she drove to the hoop. She made the first free throw. When the second bounced away from the basket, Barr grabbed the rebound and sank the putback from about 6 feet out with 10 seconds to go. The Mustangs made two more free throws to complete the scoring in their 62-53 win.

            This was a defensive battle from start to finish. The Mustangs made 19 out of 62 shots (31%), while the Bear Cubs sank 20 out of 57 (35%). The visitors made 8 3-pointers to the Bear Cubs' 4. The biggest difference was at the free throw line. The Mustangs were successful on 16 out of 20 (80%), and the Bear Cubs only made 9 out of 22 (41%). With two guards out with Covid and three players still feeling the effects of getting sick over the holiday break, the Bear Cubs got tired and had difficulty taking shots in rhythm due to the Mustangs' defensive pressure. The Mustangs were led in scoring by Andraya Perez and Lexi Derf, who each made three 3-pointers, and finished with 22 and 16 points, respectively.

            Each of the eight Bear Cubs able to play scored, but no one reached double figures. Ashleigh Barr led with 9 points and tied her season-high in rebounding with 17. Sheriene Arikat and Alex Ditizio each scored 8 points, Lucca Lowenberg 7, Ciarah Michalik and Meredith Gilbertson 6 each, Taylor Iacopi 5, and Rose Nevin 4. Sheriene Arikat grabbed 8 rebounds and made 4 steals.