BY JOHN MURPHY, Press Enterprise
RIVERSIDE — Showing the spirit and teamwork it has exhibited all season, the Riverside Sherman Indian girls basketball team defeated Bloomington Christian 55-25 Thursday night.
The Braves’ victory came in a CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA opening-round game.
“We were pumped up and excited,” said Braves guard Christina Watahomigie, who scored 12 points. “We were at home and the people helped us.”
Bloomington Christian struggled against Sherman Indian’s full-court press and couldn’t find the range from the field. The Ravens trailed 10-3 after the first quarter and 23-9 at halftime.
Sherman Indian then blitzed the Ravens 13-0 to start the second half to blow the game open. Three minutes into the third period, Bloomington Christian replaced its starting five and didn’t re-insert them until three minutes later when its deficit had grown to 30 points.
Sherman Indian coach Kara Schwab was pleased with an effort that produced 28 Ravens turnovers and many easy shots for the Braves.
“I feel really good,” Schwab said. “They showed a lot of hustle. There were some nerves, but they worked through it. We shot the ball well and the other team … did not.”
The victory was Sherman Indian’s 18th consecutive. The Braves (19-1) have not lost since dropping a 43-25 decision to Calimesa Mesa Grande Academy on Nov. 30 in the Woodcrest Christian tournament.
“They played really hard,” said Bloomington Christian’s Jessica Jenkins of Sherman Indian. “They were good hustlers and played well as a team.”
Sherman Indian, the No. 2 seed, will play the winner of No. 2 seed Villanova Prep and San Gabriel Mission in Saturday’s second round.
Sherman did have some ball-handling issues. Bloomington Christian (10-15) pressed the Braves and forced 18 turnovers.
Besides Watahomigie, Michaela Murphy had 12 points for the Braves and DeZaraye Willis had 11.
Also, Jane Knows His Gun excited the partisan Braves crowd with a steal late in the first half and assist to Murphy for a lay-up.
Megan Chiatovich led Bloomington Christian with eight points.