Sutter girls escape Farmer's Hall with victory
Huskies hold off late run by Bulldogs
After battling back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Gridley High's girls basketball team came up just short of forcing overtime against Butte View League rival Sutter on Friday night.
Inches short, that is.
Trailing by three and with the clock winding down, Bulldogs senior guard Alexa Garcia found herself with some space, rose up and nailed a clutch jumper with just 1 second remaining in the game.
There was only one problem — Garcia let the shot go with a foot just inside the 3-point line, allowing the Huskies to escape Farmer's Hall with a hard-fought 49-48 victory.
Not that it was her fault.
After receiving a long pass on the left wing, Garcia collided with a teammate and was forced to take a couple extra dribbles to get a good look at the basket. She hit nothing but net on the shot, but was a few inches too close to force the overtime period.
"I did my best. I knew it was a two, but my teammate was in my way," she said. "I had no choice but to go around her."
For Sutter coach Dustin Ford and the Huskies, the win was a big one.
With a packed house at Farmer's Hall ready to watch the boys varsity game, the Huskies were able to overcome a hostile environment and hold off a valiant effort by the scrappy Bulldogs to improve to 13-5 overall and 2-0 in the BVL.
"I love this place. It's an old building with the locker rooms upstairs, and it's always a tough place to play," Ford said. "This league is a dogfight every night. There are no gimmes, so getting two road wins is nice."
Sutter looked to have the game in hand heading into the final period as the dominant inside presence of 6-foot-2 senior Erika Larsen made things difficult for the much smaller Bulldogs.
Larsen went on to post a triple-double with 17 points, 16 rebounds and 11 blocks, and coupled with 6-foot-1 Shelby Hill in the post, the Huskies controlled the paint and took a 38-27 lead heading into the fourth.
However, that's when Gridley (5-12, 1-1) started to heat up from the outside. The Bulldogs hit four jumpers and a pair of 3-pointers in the final period, with Garcia scoring seven points to lead her team back into the game.
"We had an 11-point lead and it went away real quick," Ford said. "Gridley got hot, and there's nothing you can do about that."
Junior forward Jaelyn Hoffman put in a solid performance with 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals, and Destiny Stevenson chipped in with eight points for the Huskies, who pulled down 23 offensive rebounds compared to just 10 for the Bulldogs.
Madison Mardesich scored 11 points, and Garcia and Catherine Roman added nine each to lead the way for Gridley, which fought back despite playing most of the game with senior standout Ashtyn MacFarlane saddled to the bench in foul trouble.
"That was such a good game, and I'm really proud of the girls," first-year Gridley coach Becca McCray said. "It's going to be a good game when we play them again. We may be small, but we've got heart and intensity.
"We're only going to get better."