Sac’s league streak halted

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 - 11:05 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 - 11:18 pm

Three things had to happen for the upstarts to take down the heavyweights on Thursday night in one of the storied gyms any where.

And it happened.

The result will linger for myriad good reasons. The Sac-Joaquin Section just may have a new, spirited girls rivalry to call its own, bearing in mind that rivalries really matter when it's not a lop-sided affair.

No. 2 host McClatchy High School played composed, played hard and finished strong in belting top-ranked Sacramento 54-29 in a Metropolitan Conference contest that was expected to be a great deal closer.

"We had to play smart and we had to play hard," Lions coach Jessica Kunisaki said in sizing up two primary factors that led to a bit of history. "And we had to have a big game out of Destiny Lee."

The Lions received plenty of that, too. The 6-foot-4 Lee held her own in the paint against a player who had dominated her in the past, and McClatchy (17-1, 7-0) halted the Dragons' 5-year, 97-game league winning streak. Sacramento (10-7, 6-1) suffered its first loss against local competition in three seasons.

Lee, a junior with a scholarship offer from USF, had 17 points and 10 rebounds in squaring off against ASU-bound Ayanna Edwards, a 6-4 shot-blocking standout. Edwards had nine blocked shots, but she only had six points and six rebounds. Najah Queenland led Sacramento with 10 points.

McClatchy had balanced scoring. It made the extra pass in scoring on half-court sets, on the break or on well-executed inbounds play, delighting a crowd that packed into the storied old building. The gathering included alumni in their 70's and a student rooting section that included seniors in ties and shirts or suspenders and shorts.

All told, it was a fetive good time for the home team that also happens to be the youngest of any in The Bee's Top 20.

Freshman wing Jordan Cruz scored 16 points for McClatchy and junior guard Lauren Nubla had 11 points and played superb perimeter defense on Sacramento shooter Aliceah Hernandez, who came in averaging 16 points but had three here. Other McClatchy contributors included Gigi Garcia, Alex Washington, Kelsey Wong and its lone senior in Ingrid Martinez.

"It feels amazing," said Lee, continuously mobbed after the game by well wishers. "There's a big weight lifted off of us."

Lee especially.

"Since my freshman year, I haven't played well against Edwards," Lee explained. "I proved myself a little here. It proves that if you have heart and work hard, good things happen."

Now the Lions crave a bit more. A lot more.

"We know we have a lot more work to do," Lee said. "We know we're not done."

Kunisaki, a McClatchy graduate in her third season on the bench, said the Lions passed a significant test. The key is maintaining it.

"We do want more," she said. "We need to keep playing hard. We can do some good things."

Sacramento coach Michele cq Massari said the region needs good rivalries. She said an outcome like this can only serve as a wake up call. The rematch is on Feb. 18, the regular-season finale.

Read more articles by Joe Davidson



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