After losing to Woodside by four points in last year’s league play, on Feb. 14, Aragon got revenge on the Lady Wildcats (2-10 Peninsula Athletic League, 7-12 overall) 48-24, bumping their record up to 7-5 PAL and 14-10 overall.
The first quarter began with similar level play from both teams, as no one team shut down the other. The Wildcats quickly got themselves into foul trouble, allowing the Lady Dons to score five out of their eight points of the quarter on free throws. But on the other side of the ball, Aragon struggled rebounding, and the Lady Wildcats were able to score six points, bringing the score to 8-6.
The Lady Dons took over in the second quarter, scoring 15 points. Of those 15, six were scored by sophomore forward Kalisi Fonoñga and five were scored by junior guard Kinako Miyake. The red and black gave an equally strong defensive effort throughout the quarter, only allowing the Lady Wildcats to score five points, finishing off the half 23-11.
“In the first quarter we were missing some easy shots and we weren’t putting a lot of pressure on them,” explains freshman point guard Lydia Manu. “Towards the second quarter, we really jumped on that and came out strong.”
Similarly to Manu, sophomore point guard Kathryn Cheong attributes the change in play to the press on the Wildcats: “I think if they could handle our press, they would have done much better. It’s just that when there’s pressure on them they can’t handle it, which affects their offense and their defense.”
The red and black improved their rebounding from the first half as well. In the third quarter, the Lady Dons began to pick up rebounds off Woodside’s shots, and by the end of the fourth quarter, they dominated the boards, consistently rebounding shots from both ends of the floor.
In addition to their thirteen fouls throughout the game, the Lady Wildcats struggled to execute clean passes. A visibly shorter team, Woodside often passed higher, slower passes, making it easier for the Lady Dons to intercept their passes and take over possession.
Aragon sophomore guard Jalene Parangan was fouled twice by the Wildcats in the third quarter, but took advantage of the opportunity, making all four of her free throws.
The third and fourth quarters continued similarly to the second, as Aragon outscored Woodside 25-13, and finishing each 41-16 and 48-24, respectively. Fonoñga was a major scorer for the Dons, claiming 14 out of the Lady Dons’ 48 points. Senior forward Alyson Oross was the next closest scorer, finishing the contest with eight points.
Despite Aragon’s consistently strong offense, Oross attributes the Lady Dons’ victory to the team’s defense: “I think our defense was really good,” she explains. “I think we came together on the defense and worked together because defense wins games.”
“We came out very strong, especially since we knew it was our last game,” adds Cheong. “We really wanted to play on our home court and just make it count. We wanted to do what we’ve practiced and show everyone what we’ve got; [the game] doesn’t have to be a quad. It was a time for us to try new things and prove to ourselves that we really are great.”
“It was a good final [game],” concludes Oross, a four-year varsity player. “I’m happy I got to score a couple points and play for my last time in this gym. It was sad, but I’m happy that we won and we were there as a team.”
This game marked the conclusion of the regular season for the red and black, who finished in fifth place out of 11 teams in the PAL’s South Division and will be competing in the Central Coast Section playoffs in the coming weeks.