Rancho Buena Vista’s Jenny Dee (left) goes up for a shot as San Diego’s Tatyana Hamlett defends. Dee scored 20 points as the Longhorns advanced to Tuesday’s semifinals.
VISTA Knowing they would face San Diego High’s stifling press, the Rancho Buena Vista girls basketball team devoted the bulk of its last two practices to breaking that press.
Practice paid off as the third-seeded Longhorns used a pair of big first-half runs and beat the Cavers 72-32 Friday night in the San Diego Section Division I quarterfinals.
RBV (20-10), which has back-to-back 20-win seasons, will face Poway in Tuesday’s semifinals while San Diego’s season ends at 11-11.
“The key was breaking their press,” said RBV coach Pete LaFrance. “We practiced very hard for it, and the girls really bought into what we were trying to do.”
With the game tied at 6 early in the first quarter, RBV went on a 17-2 run.
A 16-4 run in the second quarter had the margin up to 27 points as the Longhorns not only broke San Diego’s press but forced the Cavers into 17 first-half turnovers and 29 for the game.
RBV scored 30 first-half points on San Diego turnovers.
“Taking care of the ball was a big key for us,” said first-year San Diego coach Marc Carter. “But they got after us pretty good.”
J.P. Pihl paced RBV with 22 points, including four 3-pointers.
“We were really focused,” said Pihl, who was calling for the ball in 3-point range. “They have a good press, but we were able to break it.
“We really push the ball off turnovers.”
Jenny Dee added 20 points for the Longhorns as neither Pihl nor Dee played in the fourth quarter.
“Our goal was to get ahead and force them out of their press,” said Dee. “So we practiced long and hard for it.”
Asked if she anticipated a 40-point win, Dee said, “No way. All I was hoping for was that we had the higher number on the scoreboard at the end of the game.”
Senior Jade Taylor paced San Diego with 23 points and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
“I’m disappointed we lost, but I’m satisfied with the way the season went,” Carter said. “We lost nine seniors off last year’s (championship) team. So to get to the quarterfinals with a new coach and new players was pretty good.”