The roar heard from Land Park on Thursday night came after a changing of the guard, even if it might be temporary.
McClatchy rises to No. 1 in The Bee’s girls basketball rankings after dominating longtime No. 1 Sacramento 54-29 in a Metropolitan Conference game that ended the Dragons’ 92-game league winning streak.
One of the longest winning streaks in area history, it began with a 54-53 win over Burbank on Jan. 20, 2006.
The Lions, among the youngest teams in the Top 20, are led by junior center Destiney Lee, freshman wing Jordan Cruz and junior guard Lauren Nubla. Ingrid Martinez is the only senior on the roster. Despite the youth, five of the Lions’ top seven scorers returned from last season.
“It’s great for our mental toughness, because we’ve always been seen as not good enough,” said coach Jessica Kunisaki, a former Lions guard. “Now we see we can compete with the best. It’s great for our confidence.”
During its 16-game winning streak, McClatchy has won by double digits in all but one game, against Vanden in the Martin Luther King Showcase in Stockton on Jan. 18.
Cruz scored 16 points against Sacramento and helped McClatchy’s perimeter defense stymie the Dragons’ potent offense.
“It was great for me as a freshman to be able to help out my team in a game like this,” Cruz said.
The Lions’ biggest key might be their depth. Lee, Cruz and sophomore Gigi Garcia average double figures in scoring. And Nubla, sophomore Kristi Wong and freshman Ka’Maree Donald give Kunisaki numerous options.
“We have every position. Not only the starters, but our bench,” Kunisaki said. “There’s no other bench like ours. I could put in whoever I want, and we won’t have a huge drop-off.”
Wilson joins Capital Christian – Capital Christian got a boost this month when guard Daizy Wilson joined the lineup. Wilson was the second-leading scorer for Rio Americano last season before transferring.
In her fourth game for the No. 10 Cougars, Wilson made 5 of 8 3-point attempts and scored 23 points in an 82-30 victory over Marysville in a Golden Empire League on Friday.
The Cougars already had a talented starting lineup, led by seniors Haleigh Filer (17.9 points) and Monique Colbert (13.8) and junior Nicole Colbert (16.7).
Wilson’s father, Carlos, is an assistant football coach at Capital Christian.
Latest rankings – Two teams entered the Top 20 this week for the first time.
No. 18 Granite Bay (15-7) has won five of its past seven games, with losses to No. 3 Nevada Union and No. 7 Del Oro in Sierra Foothill League games. Senior Jennifer Manduca leads the Grizzlies with 21.1 points, and sophomore Daeja Black averages 17.1.
No. 19 Cosumnes Oaks (14-6) is led by sophomore Madison Witcher (16.3 points). The Wolfpack hosts No. 6 River City (17-3) on Thursday.