Ashlyn Herlihy scored the first seven and the last two points for Arroyo Grande. And a whole bunch in between.
Arroyo Grande’s go-to player managed to navigate Mission Prep’s kitchen-sink-approach on defense, and finished the game with 26 points in a 51-43 win on Monday night.
“At one point we weren’t sure what to run because we weren’t sure what defense they were in,” Herlihy said. “But Brynn (Thoming) did a good job calling the right plays and attacking the open spaces. And Kins(ey McBryde) is a zone buster.”
The Royals used a zone defense most of the night to try and clog the middle and make things difficult on the 6-foot-1 Herlihy, but the senior forward, who will play basketball at Santa Clara next season, showed her versatility by scoring and handling the ball from the top of the key. She hit 3s and spinning lay ups with equal ease.
“That’s a true stretch four,” Arroyo Grande coach Bryan Hutchens said. “When you can put the ball on the floor or post up anywhere it makes for a really difficult match up.”
“With her, she’s just on another level in this league,” Mission Prep coach Andrew Richardson said. “You are going to live with her shots; really for us, it was just about containing everyone else.”
Mission Prep (7-7, 1-2 PAC 8) was able pull within two points with about 6 minutes to play, but that’s as close as the Royals got. Herlihy and McBryde hit back to-to-back 3-pointers, and Arroyo Grande (8-6, 2-1 PAC 8) held on for the win. McBryde finished with nine points, all on 3-pointers.
Although the PAC 8 league match up was competitive, the battle in the paint between Herlihy and Mission Prep’s Noelle and Jennifer Laird had a nice mix of soft smiles and hard fouls.
“I have grown up with Noelle and the Laird,s and Noelle is one of my best friends, so it’s competitive,” Herlihy said. “It’s a friendly rivalry, but I want to win before I’m looking for a hug. But I love playing against her.”
The Laird sisters combined for 18 points, and Jacqueline San Jule led the Royals with 11 points.
“It was kind of a combined effort,” Herlihy said. “Everyone kind of helped out, especially in the end when it got close.”
Arroyo Grande’s only league loss of the season was a 66-41 loss at Righetti.
After the game, Hutchens talked about the competitive PAC 8 and his team’s upcoming game against Paso Robles on Wednesday. But with the reigning Tribune County Girls Basketball Player of the Year on the court, things are at little bit easier.
Paso Robles 43, Atascadero 36
The Bearcats used a balanced scoring attack to down the Greyhounds.
Grace Rosa had 13 points, and Kristen Thompson added 10 for the Bearcats (3-10, 2-1 PAC 8). Kim Buchanan scored nine points.
Paso Robles coach Heidi Sill says she believes its the first time the Bearcats have beaten Atascadero in Greyhounds coach Jim Stecker’s 10-year tenure.
Reylyssa Reyes led Atascadero (5-9, 1-2 PAC 8) with 18 points.
Righetti 53, San Luis Obispo 43
The Tigers were up 40-39 with four minutes to go, but Righetii closed on 14-3 run for the win.
“They just made a few plays down the stretch, and thet was the difference, really,” San Luis Obispo coach Dan Monroe said.
Cami Storlie led the Tigers (8-6, 1-2 PAC 8) with 19 points, and Whitney Burns added 12.