The St. Joseph High girls basketball team looks as good as it was expected to be.
The Knights, who went 29-3 last season, falling in the CIF-Southern Regional Division IV semifinals, anticipated another successful run after bringing back several key players from a year ago.
They routed Atascadero, a likely PAC 7 contender, 67-37 Thursday evening during the second day of the Moriarty Enterprises Holiday Classic at San Luis Obispo High.
Aly Beebe, a 6-foot-3 sophomore post player, led the Knights with a game-high 16 points. Beebe, a Sporting News preseason fifth-team All-American, was named the CalHiSports.com female California Freshman Athlete of the Year following last season.
Although the Greyhounds used a 12-12 second quarter to stay close, St. Joseph pulled away with a 20-3 third-quarter advantage.
St. Joseph, which shot just 12 of 29 from the free-throw line, also got strong contributions from Analise Riezebos and Heather Madrigal, who added 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Shannon Berwick led Atascadero (4-2) with 12 points, while Raven Taylor added 11. Taylor was coming off a 23-point performance in Wednesday’s opener. Alyssa Palma chipped in nine points in defeat.
St. Joseph (2-0) opened the Holiday Classic with an 82-32 throttling of Pioneer Valley.
Arroyo Grande 59, Elk Grove 22
Maddie Carr had a game-high 16 points for the Eagles (4-2) while Rachel Ventura added eight points and a team-high seven rebounds.
“We had a hard time getting the ball in the basket early,” Arroyo Grande coach Dwight MacDonald said. “But our defense was the key to the game. It kept them off balance until our shots started going down.”
Nipomo 52, Cabrillo 35
Tessa Underwood led the Titans (2-5) with 25 points and 20 rebounds. She was 7 of 8 at the free-throw line.
Nipomo rebounded from a six-point loss to Cabrillo last week.
Cami Castillo added 13 points for Nipomo.
Tady Dunlop was the leading scorer for Cabrillo with 17 points.
North Bakersfield 38, Paso Robles 32
The Bearcats were only 3 of 23 at the free-throw line and had 26 turnovers.
Morro Bay 47, Elk Grove 45
Megan Hansen led the Pirates with 16 points.
Morro Bay led until late, when Elk Grove tied the scored with 18 seconds left. Hansen then hit the game-winner with four seconds remaining.
Bakersfield 43, Mission Prep 40
Jenna Dunbar had a game-high 18 points for the Royals (4-2) while teammate Bri Harvey added 10. Bakersfield made 11 of 12 free throws while Mission Prep was just 10 of 17.
La Reina 47, North County Christian 33
Cristy Scarson had 10 points, eight assists and six steals for the Crusaders (2-2) at the Bishop Diego Tournament.