The Santa Rosa Lady Warriors lost in the area round of the Class 3A playoffs to Skidmore-Tynan, 64-13, on Saturday at Santa Gertrudis.
Skidmore-Tynan used a dominant first half to put the Lady Cats comfortably in control early. They led 44-2 at halftime behind a stellar shooting performance and a challenging defense. Skidmore-Tynan kept Santa Rosa from hitting its first field goal of the game until late in the third quarter, when Alyssa Garza drained a 3-pointer.
Even while playing behind a large deficit, Santa Rosa coach Robbie Cruz was pleased with his Lady Warriors continuing to fight through the whole game.
“They just jumped on us from the very beginning. We saw what we saw on film and we did what we were supposed to do, kept them in front of us, but they just shot lights-out in the first half,” Cruz said. “We tried our best, they just found every open shot. I was proud of their fight. It’s easy when you go down 44-2 at halftime to just say, ‘What are we doing here?’ But they just kept going, and they weren’t going to hold back.”
Cruz said Santa Rosa guards Aliah Garcia and Garza played good defense and applied pressure to Skidmore-Tynan’s ball-handlers. He praised seniors Celeste Garza and Brandy Anaya for hustling on every play and executing well on the court while motivating and encouraging their teammates. Cruz said everyone on the team, from the starters to the Lady Warriors on the bench, “played a role to try and make sure (the) demeanor and spirit was still up.”
In the locker room at halftime, Cruz told his team to slow things down, play its game and continue communicating. Santa Rosa responded and played two strong quarters to end the contest. Alyssa Garza finished with a team-high six points on two 3-pointers. Anaya had three points, and Leslie Flores and Lucy Garcia each added two.
“I just think the first half we got a little overwhelmed with the pressure they brought to us, and we got a little sloppy with our passes and it gave them extra opportunities to get some buckets,” Cruz said. “In the second half, we processed everything a little bit slower so we were able to get the ball across and try to set something up as much as possible. We just couldn’t make our shots when we needed.”
Cruz was proud of the Lady Warriors for advancing to the area round despite a limited season and all the obstacles the team faced. Most of Santa Rosa’s roster will be returning next season, so Cruz knows good things are ahead.
“We’re a young team. Them getting this experience, moving on to the second round, getting a taste of it, I feel like they’re just going to keep getting better if they just keep that foundation and keep going from here,” Cruz said.