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Photo by Chelsea Buchanan
The Lady Aztecs' Kayla Thesis guards the Burros' Candace Perez (3) as teammate Lemesse Robinson (23) holds back Burroughs' Chelsea McGrew in Wednesday's game.

Lady Aztecs outpressed by Burros

BARSTOW • In a game defined by its pressure defense, the Barstow girls basketball lost its first Desert Sky League match of the season on Wednesday, falling to Burroughs, 62-45, at Barstow High School.

The Burros had trouble making their shots in the early going, but they brought their ‘A’ defensive game. The pressure eventually wore the Lady Aztecs down, after being ahead into the second quarter.

“We couldn’t break their press,” said Barstow head coach Anthony Nolen. “We were able to score inside and a couple of three’s kept us close, but we had problems with their press the whole game.”

The first quarter belonged to the home team. Six different players scored, including buckets from beyond the arc from Jasmine Green and Sharon Green. The Barstow defense limited the quality looks for the Burros, who trailed, 18-8, at the buzzer.

The shift in the match was in the second quarter. The Aztecs got off to a good start and added to their lead, but the pressure started to rattle them into turnovers. There was also the matter of fill-in point guard Kayla Thesis sitting out for the last few minutes after jamming her right knee.

“Kayla did a good job handling the ball, but she had to sit out most of the second and ice her knee. That’s when they took the lead, and that’s when we started to really turn the ball over,” said coach Nolen. “We had 19 turnovers by halftime. When you have almost as many turnovers as points, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

It didn’t get any better in the second half. The Burros kept up the pressure and were able to grab some key steals and build on their lead. A three-point edge at the half had turned into a 16-point lead by the end of the third.

The Aztecs are at a disadvantage in that they’re still missing two players with injuries, including starting point guard Marissa Dado. Thesis and Jasmine Green did well running the point in her absence, but Nolen knows it’s no substitute for having a healthy starter.

“Missing your starting point guard is like going to war without a general,” said the coach. “You need leadership out there.”

Maxine Cook led the Aztec offense with 12 points, along with four rebounds, while Jasmine Green had 10 points, six boards, four steals and four assists. Vasa Alefaio had five points, nine rebounds and two steals.

“These early games tell us what our team character is like. We were able to adjust our defense and that’s a positive,” said Nolen. “I was pleased with our offense, pleased with our communication, and pleased with the different looks we were able to get. But it all goes back to the press.”

The Lady Aztecs go to 3-3 with the loss, with the Burros improving to 5-2.

Barstow will have today to work on things before getting back out on the court on Friday, hosting Victor Valley for a 5:30 p.m. start.

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