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Photo by Chelsea Buchanan
The Lady Aztecs basketball team in the huddle in a recent game at Barstow High School.

Second-half power-outage for Lady Aztecs

BARSTOW • Through the first 16 minutes, the Lady Aztecs hung with their opponent. The next 16, though, belonged to the Burros.

After a strong first half, Barstow slowed down in the second and lost to Burroughs, 57-27, in Friday night’s Desert Sky League match-up at Barstow High School.

The Burros are currently in second place in the DSL, just behind undefeated Silverado. Their record aside, they were unable to keep a lid on the Lady Aztecs, who put up a fight in the early going. But what was a nine-point halftime deficit for Barstow was 19 points by the start of the fourth, and the home team wasn’t able to recover.

The Burros pressed for most of the game, and the Aztecs handled it well in the first half. Barstow dished out some ‘D’ of its own in the first and rushed Burroughs into some poor shot selection. As the game wore on, however, the Burros’ pressure led to some steals and turnovers and the points began mounting up.

“Our offense comes off our defense,” said Aztecs assistant coach Harold Green. “We manufacture points off our defense, and when that’s not there, we have problems.”

Vasa Alefaio scored Barstow’s, and the game’s, first field goal, and went on to net six of her team’s eight first-quarter points. The Burros held a 13-8 lead at the end of the first and got the first two points of the second. That’s when the Aztecs rallied, going on a 6-0 run to make it a 15-14 game.

“We got within one point, but then made some turnovers and got behind again,” said Green.
Burroughs pulled away in the first minutes of the third quarter, and was ahead by 19 at the horn.

“We lost focus in the second, and when we lose focus and get behind, we lose confidence,” said Green.

“We would have been better off to not take a break at halftime and just go right into the third quarter,” said head coach Anthony Nolen.

The Aztecs used the second half to rotate players liberally and get everyone some floor time.
“We rotated to go deeper into our bench,” said Green. “We want to be sure everybody’s ready for the playoffs.”

Alefaio led Barstow in scoring, with 10 points, and off the boards, with nine rebounds. Tiare Alefaio had six rebounds and four points, while Kayla Thesis had four points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Burros’ Aubrey Hayes led all scorers with 21 points.

The win keeps Burroughs in second place in the DSL, at 14-5 overall, 7-2 league. The Lady Aztecs, at 10-9, 4-5, are comfortably in third place, and in the hunt for a postseason berth.

“We’re implementing new things, getting ready for playoffs,” said coach Green. “We need more movement on offense, but we have a couple of weeks to fix things. Sometimes when we get behind, our emotions show; this is a young team, but we have to fight through that. We have to be ready.”

The Lady Aztecs have two more home games before finishing up the regular season on the road. Barstow will host Victor Valley on Wednesday, and Riverside Prep next Friday.

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