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Warriors win first three girls basketball league games

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School’s girls basketball team won the Warriors’ first three Valley League games of the 2021-22 season.

All three of those games were played in Fallbrook. The 63-58 win Jan. 14 against Mount Carmel, the 54-44 victory Jan. 19 over Ramona, and the 74-25 triumph Jan. 21 against Valley Center gave the Warriors an overall record of 11-6 along with the 3-0 league mark.

“Lately we’ve been playing like the championship team that we had last year,” said Fallbrook coach Trae Harrison.

Postponements due to coronavirus concerns of opponents eliminated Fallbrook games during the first week of January, so the league opener against Mount Carmel was the Warriors’ first game since a 57-21 win over Sage Creek on Dec. 28. “I was told that we weren’t supposed to beat Mount Carmel,” Harrison said.

As of Jan. 21, Fallbrook is the only team to defeat the Sundevils in league play. “They’re pretty good. They came out tough,” Harrison said.

Mount Carmel had a 12-point lead with 3:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. “We went on a 17-0 run,” Harrison said.

Harrison cited multiple reasons for the Warriors’ deficit. “It was us making mistakes early,” he said.

The Sundevils’ bench strength contributed to Mount Carmel capitalizing on the Warriors’ mistakes. “They go five in, five out like every three minutes and they’re pressing full court full-time,” Harrison said. “If you make mistakes and turnovers, it’s easy points for them.”

With only nine varsity players Fallbrook was unable to match Mount Carmel’s ability to have five fresh players off the bench. The Sundevils also relied on long shots. “They shot a lot of threes,” Harrison said.

Fallbrook went to a full-court press late in the fourth quarter. “We did change our game in the last three minutes,” Harrison said.

“We did what they did,” Harrison said. “That’s what helped us turn it around.”

A Jan. 15 neutral court game against Helix ended as a 59-43 Fallbrook triumph. Each team scored 16 points in the first period, the Warriors had a 30-28 halftime lead, and the score was 42-35 in Fallbrook’s favor after the third quarter. Fallbrook traveled to Christian High School for a Jan. 17 game which was a 57-36 Fallbrook win.

Ramona entered the Bulldogs’ Jan. 19 game at Fallbrook with a 2-0 Valley League record. “We played them pretty well for three quarters and then late in the fourth quarter they went on a pretty good run,” Harrison said.

At one time the Warriors led by 20 points. The Warriors’ scoring included 15 points from Brooke Quintana, 12 by Elley Ahrend, and 11 from Naiya Kurnik. Kurnik led the Warriors with eight rebounds, five steals, four assists, and two blocked shots.

Harrison did not have enough players to bench his entire starting lineup in the game against Valley Center. Kurnik had 22 points against the Jaguars; Ahrend contributed 20 points, and Claire Nordeen scored 14 points. Nordeen grabbed 11 rebounds while Kurnik and Quintana had eight rebounds apiece. Nordeen led the team with seven steals while Quintana recorded five steals. Kurnik contributed five assists while Ahrend provided four assists. Ahrend and Harley Benitez each blocked three shots.

“I’m proud of these kids. They’re showing a championship pedigree,” Harrison said.

The Warriors begin the second round of league play Feb. 2 at Mount Carmel and then travel to Ramona for a Feb. 4 match. “The second half of league is really going to test us,” Harrison said.

 

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