The Dons (19-4 overall, 10-1 Peninsula Athletic League) beat their rival Hillsdale (12-9 overall, 4-7 PAL) for the second time this season 51-22 on Feb. 9 on Senior Night.
After the team gave flowers to the seniors and took photos, the game began with the Dons scoring 10 points in the first quarter, and with their strong defense, held Hillsdale to only four points.
The second quarter went much like the first. The Dons scored another 10 points, while the Knights scored four, ending the first half up 20-8.
“Our defense and our rebounding [was strong],” said head coach Sam Manu. “We were struggling a bit on the offense, but it’s really good when you let the other team score only eight points in the first half.”
The Dons entered the second half with strong rebounding and offense. Their clean passing helped them to score a total of 19 points, nine of which were scored by sophomore point guard Lydia Manu.
“We played very good defense,” said senior shooting guard Katelyn Wong. “We shut them down and we didn’t let them score a lot.”
Despite the great performance, the Dons still have some improvements to make.
“[We need to improve on] our offense,” Sam Manu said. “We forgot some of our screens, some of our responsibilities and our offense was a little bit staggered.”
Last year, the team was composed of mainly freshmen and sophomores, and was not as experienced compared to other teams, as the Dons had seven underclassmen on their 16-person roster. This season, the team consists mainly of veterans and experienced players with a year under their belt. Additionally, there are no freshmen or new players this year.
“Last year, we had a very young team,” Sam Manu said. “So, our leaders are from last year [and] the culture is set, and just like last year, they are very close.”
Junior center Courtney Townsend believes this year’s team excels at defense.
“Defense and getting rebounds — that’s our No. 1 team thing and we do that every game,” Townsend said. “That’s really what gets us the wins.”
Additionally, the team believes they need to improve on their basics and being consistent.
“We’re still young so we need to watch out for careless turnovers, panic passing, not being poised,” Sam Manu said. “Those come with the more veteran teams, which have spent years in the system. We’re still building that so that we can be more poised.”
Up next, the Dons will face Carlmont (18-5 overall, 8-3 PAL) on Feb. 13