High School Sports

Fast start gives Eagles easy win in PAC 7 home opener

The Arroyo Grande High girls basketball team doesn’t look ready to relinquish its PAC 7 league crown any time soon.

The Eagles got out to a 16-0 lead Wednesday night at James Gym, routing Atascadero for a 66-45 win.

“We played pretty well in all phases,” Arroyo Grande coach Dwight MacDonald said.

Arroyo Grande, the two-time defending league champion, started this season 9-5 overall, although none of those games had come at home, thanks to a number of tournaments. The Eagles made seven 3-pointers and were 21 of 29 at the free-throw line.

“We were finally in our gym,” MacDonald said. “We’re a little bit more used to the background and setting.”

The Greyhounds, meanwhile, who finished fifth in the league a year ago and are looking for their first PAC 7 title since 2007, appeared as a considerable challenger after opening the year 8-2. That start had featured senior forward Raven Taylor, who at 16.1 points and 12.4 rebounds per game was leading the league in both categories.

On Wednesday, though, Atascadero was held without a field goal until a minute and 44 seconds remained in the first quarter and trailed 20-5 entering the second.

Taylor was stymied, limited to just four points.

“We just prepared and knew who we were going to guard,” Arroyo Grande guard Christina Combs said. “All of our girls played really good defense.”

Combs led Arroyo Grande (2-0 PAC 7) with 12 points, while Lindsey Wolf had 10. Teammates Madi Ventura, Haley MacDonald and Rachel Ventura each contributed nine.

“We had very good balance,” Dwight MacDonald said of the evenly distributed scoring. “We’re not always going to have the same high points scorer every night.”

In that respect, Arroyo Grande’s offense has taken on a similar look to last year, when the Eagles had seven players average between five and 8.4 points per game during a third-round CIF-Southern Section Division III-AA playoff run.

“We have a lot of good all-around players,” Combs said, “and we trust all of them with the ball.”

Alyssa Palma almost single-handedly shot Atascadero (1-1 PAC 7) back into the game, sinking four 3-pointers all in the second quarter, but the Greyhounds still were behind 38-26 at intermission. Wolf made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close the third, putting the Eagles up 54-30. Atascadero mustered just four field goals in the second half.

“We turned the ball over too many times,” Atascadero coach Jim Stecher said. “We tried to force things to happen instead of waiting for them to happen, and we shot terribly in the first (quarter).”

Palma finished with a game-high 18 points in defeat, with teammate Shannon Berwick adding 10.

“We’ve got to find a way to take care of the ball and play within ourselves when we play a good team like this,” Stecher added.

Righetti 60, Paso Robles 50

Kati Sheldon led Paso Robles (6-8, 0-2 PAC 7) with 19 points. The Bearcats trailed 26-19 at halftime. Chrissy Davis added eight for Paso Robles, which held 6-foot-5 Cal Poly signee Molly Schlemer to six points.

St. Joseph 71, Morro Bay 36

Heather Madrigal had a team-high 18 points for the Knights, the defending Division IV-A champions who entered the week ranked No. 21 in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times.

Hannah Gilbert led the Pirates (7-5, 0-1 Los Padres League) with 10 points, while Ciara Ramos and Megan Hansen added eight and seven in defeat, respectively. Morro Bay trailed 37-16 at halftime.

Templeton 52, Lompoc 43

Carly O’Sullivan had a team-high 16 points for the Eagles, who picked up their first league victory in four years.

Katie Hunter added 12 for Templeton (5-7, 1-0 LPL), which got 11 rebounds from Katie Koehler.

Tribune staff contributed to this report.