High School Sports

Garcia leads No. 1 McClatchy girls over No. 3 Sac High

Gigi Garcia was spent.

The McClatchy High junior center played all but 60 seconds of Monday’s Metro League matchup against the No. 3-ranked and visiting Sacramento Dragons, leading the No. 1 Lions to a 58-48 victory with 18 points, 13 rebounds, six blocks and exhausted legs and lungs.

“I’m definitely tired,” Garcia said. “But we came out with heart in the second half, and that was the difference.”

Garcia played the final 6:55 of the fourth quarter with four fouls and sat down a few times while the Lions went back on defense. That ploy by Lions coach Jessica Kunisaki was more to avoid picking up the fifth and final foul than giving Garcia a breather. Garcia has been used to pulling 30-32 minutes of duty per game while the Lions’ other starting post player, Destiny Lee, continues to recover from a leg injury and likely won’t return for another two weeks, Garcia said.

“When not in foul trouble, she’s going to play a lot of minutes because without her, we go from 6-foot-2 to about 5-5,” Kunisaki said. “Even when (Gigi) isn’t touching the ball, she’s a presence.”

While Garcia was dominating the boards, scoring on nifty post moves and plugging the middle of the Lions’ 2-3 zone, two slashing layups from guard Kristi Wong gave the Lions some breathing room down the stretch. Wong’s late baskets more than made up for missing several shots next to the basket in the first period.

“My shots weren’t falling, but my teammates on the bench helped me out and told me to stay with it,” said Wong, who scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth period. “Playing Sac (High) in front of the home crowd like this is great. When we played them as a freshman, I used to get really nervous, but now these games just give me a lot of energy.”

Kunisaki said Wong could have gotten down on herself for missing those early short shots but the team rallied around her. Kunisaki said she wasn’t surprised Wong responded when it mattered most.

“The assistant coaches were great and each one of them were telling her to stay positive and to attack, attack, attack,” Kunisaki said. “So she kept finding the seams in the lane and they weren’t guarding her.”

Lions guard Lauren Nubla had nine points and nine assists.

A scary moment halted action in the third period when Sacramento’s Aliceah Hernandez went down in a heap after catching an inadvertent elbow on top of her head. She was helped up from the floor but couldn’t get her feet in sync and had to settle back down onto the court. Hernandez later returned to the game.

The Dragons were led by Richelle Turney’s 11 points. Hernandez added 10 points and Courtesy Clark eight.

The Lions (13-6) took sole control of the Metro at 7-0, while Sacramento dropped to 11-7 and 6-1.

THE BEE’S BOYS TOP 20

Records through Saturday; last week’s ranking in parentheses

1. Folsom (1) 18-3

2. Sacramento (3) 16-4

3. Woodcreek (2) 17-4

4. Pleasant Grove (7) 15-4

5. Sheldon (4) 10-5

6. Kennedy (5) 14-4

7. Capital Christian (6) 11-7

8. Cordova (15) 16-5

9. Liberty Ranch (8) 18-3

10. Cosumnes Oaks (9) 13-4

11. Antelope (10) 16-3

12. Franklin (11) 12-7

13. Christian Brothers (13) 14-6

14. Jesuit (14) 12-7

15. Grant (12) 13-5

16. Oak Ridge (-) 13-7

18. Granite Bay (18) 14-7

19. Bella Vista (-) 12-10

20. Marysville (20) 19-1

Joe Davidson

THE BEE’S GIRLS TOP 20

Records through Saturday; last week’s ranking in parentheses

1. McClatchy (1) 12-6

2. Oak Ridge (2) 17-3

3. Sacramento (4) 11-6

4. Antelope (5) 16-1

5. Del Oro (6) 16-4

6. Inderkum (7) 18-2

7. Davis (9) 15-2

8. Pleasant Grove (3) 14-5

9. Bradshaw Christian (8) 11-8

10. Rio Linda (10) 16-5

11. Folsom (12) 15-6

12. Whitney (13) 17-2

13. Elk Grove (11) 14-5

14. St. Francis (14) 13-5

15. Bella Vista (15) 14-4

16. River City (16) 14-7

17. Ponderosa (17) 13-6

18. Nevada Union (18) 10-9

19. Sheldon (19) 9-10

20. Florin (20) 12-6

Mike Finnerty

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