Taylor Pierce, a sophomore for No. 4-ranked La Costa Canyon, scores two of her season-high 24 points in the Mavericks’ Avocado West League win over Rancho Buena Vista.
CARLSBAD As a freshman on the La Costa Canyon High girls basketball team, Taylor Pierce made quite a splash.
She averaged 7.7 points per game, but that’s beginning to look more like a trickle than a real wave.
Pierce has surged into a starting role this year after an offseason of working hard on her shooting to become a dangerous weapon for the Mavericks.
The 5-foot-6 guard showed off that shooting touch Friday night with a season-high 24 points to help hold off Rancho Buena Vista 78-46.
“I’m a distraction,” Pierce said. “I’m always there waiting for the defense to concentrate on Esther (Wofford) and Savannah (Irwin). My job is to take pressure off them by making the defense play honest.”
No. 4 La Costa Canyon (18-2, 2-0) went on a 19-2 run to close out the first quarter for a 24-6 lead.
That run reached 24-2 — Pierce scored 16 points in the first half — before Rancho Buena Vista (11-8, 1-1) scored again.
Midway through the third quarter, the Longhorns had renewed hope, trailing by a slim 46-38 off a 10-5 run to open the period.
Over the final 12 minutes, though, all of the missed shots and 31 turnovers took their toll on the Longhorns. La Costa Canyon outscored the visitors 32-7 to clinch the win.
“We gave up the ball too many times,” Rancho Buena Vista coach Pete LaFrance said. “Turnovers was a point of emphasis and you can’t make 31 turnovers against anyone.”
While Jenny Dee took game scoring honors with 25 points for the Longhorns, La Costa Canyon, which won its 10th straight game, also got 18 points and six rebounds from Irwin, 13 points from Wofford and 10 points from Rachel Dumiak off the bench behind Pierce.
“We’re a better shooting team this year,” LCC coach Mario Flores said. “We’ll take advantage of turnovers and wide open shots.
“You can try to take away two of our three top scorers, but one of them is always going to hurt you.”
This time it was all three of them.
“I had to earn my way onto the floor more this year, so I sat a lot and watched last year,” Pierce said. “I showed up early and I asked a lot of questions.
“I also went to the gym whenever I could to work on my shooting. I’ve always been a gym rat, so if someone said I had to spend more time in the gym I am fine with that.”
So are the Mavericks.