EL DORADO HILLS — Jessica Heinrichs’ back-to-back lay-ins stopped a third quarter scoring drought by El Dorado Saturday — kick-starting the Lady Cougars over Rocklin 56-37 in a turnover-plagued Trojan Shoot-Out Tournament consolation championship matinee at Oak Ridge High.
El Dorado, the only Division III team in the tournament, took a 35-19 lead into the second half and saw its advantage dwindle to 10 before Heinrichs burst in to score with 3:43 left in the quarter. She came right back to beat the Thunder press with another bucket and the Cougars’ lead was never fewer than 11 the rest of the way.
“I pretty much try to cause chaos, get steals and go all out all the time,” said Heinrichs who finished with nine points, all after haftime.
Chaos was the name of the game Saturday for both teams which pressured one another all 32 minutes. The result was ragged play, turnovers, steals, mistakes and violations.
“The style of play we play – uptempo – dictates that we’ll turn the ball over but defensively we’ll force turnovers too. You just hope you can come out on the upper end,” El Dorado coach Pat Winter said. “They put a lot of pressure on us and it was all about responding to that intensity. I think we proved we belonged here by dominating the last two games. Overall it was a great growth situation and we grew as a team.”
The Cougars had the upper hand after the opening quarter thanks to a 6-0 run on baskets by Justine Pereira, Sara Mackey and Grace Abela who stole the ball and converted an off-balance, driving shot off the glass for a 16-7 lead. El Dorado led by 16 at the break thanks to a buzzer-beating three-point runner by Samantha Reeder.
Reeder was in the thick of things handling the ball against Rocklin’s trapping press and finished with 13 points. Mackey, an all-tournament selection, led the Cougars with 15 points, all in the first half, and grabbed 12 rebounds before foul trouble forced her to the bench for the final quarter and a half. Emily Boyd had six points; Pereira, four; Abela and Jenny McCaughey, three; and Courtney Macklin, two.
Mackey’s absence increased Reeder’s burden but McCaughey, Abela, Pereira, Heinrichs and Savannah Barnhill helped handle the Thunder pressure. Rebounding-wise, Macklin and Boyd picked up the slack with with 10 and eight respectively. El Dorado led by 13 after three and pulled away in the fourth with a 14-4 run.
“I’m a little tired but it was good handling the pressure. It was a good weekend — we struggled early but gained a lot of confidence,” Reeder said.
Note: Winter has bragging rights over the holidays — his brother Pete is an assistant coach with Rocklin.