Foothill High’s Emma Roach drives to the basketball against Shasta’s Taryn Giacomelli in Friday night’s game at The Palace. Foothill won 71-39 to improve to 11-7 on the season. (Photo by Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)
PALO CEDRO – When the best of both worlds combine, there’s no stopping the Foothill High girls basketball team.
The Cougars got their shots to fall from the outside early on and it opened up the inside game for senior Jenna Wallace & Co. to take over in a 71-49 dominating home win over Shasta Friday night at The Palace.
Foothill, which leads the Northern Section in 3-pointers made, might be a shooting team. But the height advantage inside with Wallace, Delanie Henning and Maddie Matthews – all 5-foot-11 or taller – is hard to take lightly as well. Shasta found that out the hard way.
“It can go any way; just because we’re big doesn’t mean we’re going to outscore everybody,” said Wallace, who dropped a game-high 18 points. “We still have to work hard and we rely on everybody as a team.”
Kaitlyn Troncale got things going quick with a 3-pointer to start the game and scored seven of her nine points in the first five minutes. Wallace got in the mix by burying a shot from downtown for an early 14-5 lead. Although Shasta ended the period on a 5-0 run to trail by five, the Wolves couldn’t trim the deficit any more the rest of the way.
It didn’t help the youthful Wolves (1-1 Eastern Athletic League, 7-9) that junior guard Ava Jackson was in a walking boot to heal a stress fracture in her fibula she suffered against the same Foothill team in Harlan Carter on Dec. 8. Without her, it was tough for Shasta to find a rhythm and win matchups with an energetic Foothill squad that used crisp passing to create space for their players on offense, coach Alicia Dahl said. At the midpoint of the season, Dahl is throwing out the excuses.
“Youth is it but we’re going to stop using that,” Dahl said. “I don’t want to be on the 2-3 year plan, I want to be on the ‘now’ plan. And the ‘now’ plan is get ready and do your part in the game.
“We are a really good team. They just have to know it and I can’t keep telling them it. They have to believe it.”
Foothill (1-1 EAL, 11-7) went inside to its ‘bigs’ in the second with Henning’s old-fashioned three-point play starting it off. Wallace contributed a bucket inside, Henning used a spin move in the post for an opposite-hand layup and Wallace followed with a spin move of her own in the blocks for 2. A Wallace triple from the top of the key and Mitchell’s deep jumper were part of a 22-9 second-quarter advantage for the Cougars with Wallace’s acrobatic putback gave Foothill a commanding 38-20 lead at intermission.
“We’re a first half team so coming out strong was going to be key,” said Foothill coach Stephanie Ahluwalia.
Foothill controlled the boards in the second half and won around the rim on both ends of the floor. All nine of the Cougars’ second-half field goals and 20 of their 26 made shots on the night came from inside the paint.
“We play our outside game and it draws them out and then go inside,” Ahluwalia said. “We really did that well and utilized out posts.”
A pair of free throws from Amber Wallace at the end of the third pushed Foothill’s lead to 26 – its largest of the game, a feat the Cougars would match once more on a layup from Hayden Toney.
Mitchell finished with 12 points and Henning chipped in with 10 points for Foothill, which hosts Chico on Tuesday.
Isabelle Smith’s 12 points paced the Wolves, who have a rough three-game stretch ahead of them at Pleasant Valley and at home against Enterprise next week before hosting Red Bluff.
Foothill 71, Shasta 49
Shasta (1-1 EAL, 7-9): Smith 12, Flores 10, Poletski 8, Rodriguez 8, Patton 3, Giacomelli 3, Jaegal 3, Kendall 2.
Foothill (1-1 EAL, 11-7): J. Wallace 18, Mitchell 12, Henning 10, Troncale 9, A. Wallace 9, Roach 6, Matthews 3, Toney 2, Wallen 2.
3-pointers—Shasta: 2 – Smith (2); Foothill: 9 – J. Wallace (2), Troncale.