Last Tuesday Anderson Valley High School hosted the Laytonville Warriors. The opening game was played by the JV Boys and from the tip-off seemed like the teams were fairly evenly matched. The game was running smoothly in the first quarter with AV hitting a bucket, then Laytonville answering with one. But the game started to unravel when 3 of our starters picked up at least two fouls a piece and caused the coaching staff to make some rotations from the bench. The score was 22-15 Laytonville at the half-time buzzer. The second half looked promising with Jason Sanchez and Omar Benavides driving into the paint to draw fouls as Scott Johnson sank a downright pretty three-pointer. AV also had a series of nice steals resulting in some snappy plays that began to irritate the Laytonville squad, yet the score was still in the Warriors’ favor 28-23 at the end of the third quar¬ter. The Panthers just ran out of time in the final quarter. The Panthers fell to the Warriors 41-31. Leading scorers were Jason Sanchez 14, Omar Benavides 8, Scott Johnson 5, and Hector Cruz 4.
The Varsity Girls were the first to draw blood in their game by winning the tip, Rubi Peña immediately going up for a short jumper and got fouled in the first play of the game. She made a free throw to put the first points on the scoreboard. Natalia Ventura was a force to be reckoned with by making at least a half-dozen steals and getting fouled almost every time she went up for a lay up. Mirla Gaxiola and Gimana Man¬riquez, bumped up from the JV team, stepped up to the challenge and proved that they were there to play ball. The Lady Panthers had a five-point lead at half-time, 23-18. The girls came back from the half strong and added pressure causing several Warrior turnovers. The ladies walked away with a well-deserved win 48-36. Natalia led all scorers with 14 points. Other scor¬ers were; Mirla Gaxiola 8, Rubi Peña 7, Gimina Man¬riquez 6, Laura Essayah 4, Itzel Perez and Sasha Her¬rera with 2 a piece.
There’s no nice way of putting it. The Varsity Boys game was blow out in AV’s favor. The Panthers were quicker, taller, and were better shooters. Quick steals and fast breaks by Omar and Domingo Ferreyra padded a lot of the first quarter stats. Other starters John Paula, Noe Benavides and Garrett Mezzanatto rounded helped round out the quarter ending it with a 30-8 score. Midway into the second quarter, the coaches started rotating the bench in due to the lop¬sided score. From there on out, the game just kept getting uglier. 43-14 AV at the half. 64-24 at the end of the third and 68-32 final. Scoring: Noe Benavides 14, Omar Ferreyra 12, Domingo Ferreyra 11, Garrett Mezzanatto 9, John Paula 7, Sergio Guitierrez 6, Derek Soto 4 and Xavier Francis 2.
The Panther teams traveled to the Point Arena Pirate territory on Friday. It can be honestly said where the Point Arena lacked class and sportsman¬ship, they made up for in spirit and support for their teams. Something that is lacking at AVHS. It was re¬freshing to see the school band playing during half-time and between time outs, a dance squad perform¬ing a half-time show with the school mascot and each team waiting/cheering on the next team to come out before hitting the showers. And they looked happy doing it! Just an observation, AV. Let’s get that kind of spirit going here in the Valley!
And now for the games…no stats were available for the JV Girls game. It is known, however, that Point Arena did win the game.
The JV Boys took an early lead and it looked as if they were going to hold Point Arena scoreless in the first quarter with a 9-2 lead. AV kept the lead and ended the half 25-19. Returning from half-time, AV experienced a cold snap in their shooting and there were a few players in foul trouble. Point Arena out¬scored AV 28-9 in the second half which led to a 48-34 victory for the Point Arena Pirates. Jason Sanchez led scoring with 18, followed by Hector Cruz 5, Omar Benavides 4, Salvador “Chava” Guitierrez 4 and Scott Johnson 2.
The Girls Varsity game was clearly an uneven match-up. In fact, it is expected that Point Arena girls will take the league this season. They play very physi¬cal and they have several seasoned players. But our girls never gave up. Natalia Ventura, usually the queen of 3-pointers, became the queen of the free throw line. Although she did hit a couple of 3-pointers in the sec¬ond half. Point Arena jumped to an early lead and executed a press that was difficult for AV to break. Half-time score was 23-12 Pirates. Point Arena held AV to only two point in the third quarter making the scale tip even more to 49-14. At this point, most coaches would pull off the full-court press and rotate other players in the game. But not Point Arena. They were winning by 27 points and still had most of their starters in the game and were still pressing our Lady Panthers. Now that takes a lot of class. We’re proud of the girls for sticking it out and playing hard until the end. Point Arena prevailed with 60-23 win. Natalia ended up with 13 points, Laura Essayah 4, and Joseline Espinoza and Rubi Peña with 2 points each.
Coaches Espinoza and Boudoures knew it would be a tough game for the Varsity Boys facing the Pirates. Many have speculated that Anderson Valley and Point Arena will face off for the league champion¬ship at the end of the season. Nearly two minutes lapsed before either team scored. Noe Benavides hit a shot just before the buzzer for AV to take the lead just before the whistle blew to end the first quarter, leaving the score only 9-7. AV acquired a comfortable lead during the second period but the Pirates started creeping back just before the end of the half with Point Arena’s DJ Egger hitting a 3-pointer at the end of the half for them to lead 28-25 going into half-time. The Pirates’ shooting was on fire at the start of the second half and AV’s shooting with the exception of a 3-pointer by Omar Ferreyra and a few lay ups was not. Point Arena slowly started edging a larger lead to end the third quarter 47-41. During the final period it always felt like the Panthers were still in it and that at any moment they were going to catch the Pirates. John Paula hit a brief hot streak hitting two 3-pointers almost simultaneously giving the AV crowd a spark of hope. With 2:44 on the clock it started looking grim. Point Arena was up by a few baskets, AV couldn’t hit anything and then a technical was called on AV. Point Arena nailed their technical shots and it all went down hill from there. The game ended in PA’s favor 65-56. It should be noted that AV did have some truly remarkable plays and the players are growing stronger as a team with each game that they play. John Paula led scoring with 21 points, Omar Ferreyra 13, Domingo Ferreyra 10, Derek Soto 6, Noe Benavides 4, and Sergio Guitierrez 2.
It will be a Panther showdown this Friday, when Anderson Valley Panthers host the Leggett Valley Panthers. Be there!