High School Sports

Prep Girls Basketball: Arroyo Grande's balanced scoring leads to win

Not a whole lot seems to have changed in the PAC 7 girls basketball race: Arroyo Grande High might not have the best player, but it looks like it once again has the best players.

Nine different Eagles scored Friday night as Arroyo Grande routed Righetti 61-33 at James Gym.

The Warriors came in led by 6-foot-5 senior center Molly Schlemer, who has signed to play at Cal Poly. She entered averaging 15.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game — numbers that were being rivaled by other stars throughout the league such as Atascadero’s Raven Taylor, San Luis Obispo’s Hannah Kenny and Nipomo’s Tessa Underwood.

Meanwhile, Rachel Ventura, the leading scorer for Arroyo Grande (14-5, 6-0) — which entered No. 8 in the CIF-Southern Section Division III-AA rankings — averages 9.1 points per game, with five others adding at least five per game. Similarly a year ago, seven different Eagles averaged between five and 8.4 points per game during a third-round divisional playoff run.

“They’re team-oriented,” Arroyo Grande coach Dwight MacDonald said. “We try to figure out what the other team is giving us and go for it. The girls don’t care who scores the most points each night. They really don’t. None of them care. They just want to come in and fulfill their role.

“We just played good fundamental basketball.”

Haley MacDonald had a team-high 13 points Friday, with Lindsey Wolf adding 12, Madi Ventura 11 and Jenna Sverchek nine.

“We’re all equal,” Arroyo Grande guard Christina Combs said. “We all want to share in what happens.”

Schlemer, who missed all but the first two minutes of the opening half due to a nose bleed, was held to only six points.

“All week, we said it was just another game,” Sverchek said. “We prepared at the beginning of the week (for Schlemer), so we were ready when she came back in.”

Mariah Cooks carried the Warriors (10-4, 3-3) with 10 points. Arroyo Grande led 17-8 after the first quarter and 26-15 at halftime.

“Molly was a loss,” Warriors coach Chad Dias said, “but in the first half, we weren’t down by 20. The girls just did not execute.”

Schlemer returned with 6:07 left in the third, as the Warriors trailed 34-16, but the Eagles repeatedly denied entry passes to her and used their team quickness to force turnovers.

“She’s a very good player,” Dwight MacDonald said of Schlemer. “You have to make it difficult for her to get close to the basket. If she gets close to the basket, she’s going to score. Our girls worked really hard. A couple of them got in foul trouble, but we made her work hard, too.”

Seven straight points by Haley MacDonald — the last of which came on a 3-pointer with seconds remaining in the third — put Arroyo Grande up 47-22 heading into the fourth.

The Eagles’ biggest lead was established at 61-31 on a pair of Brenna Jacobs free throws with 1:38 remaining.

“A.G. did everything well,” Dias said. “They ran their stuff. Any time coach MacDonald called out a play, they knew what they were doing and they ran it to perfection and got a good shot out of it.

“They have such a good program, it’s transparent,” Dias said of the comparison between last year’s team and this year’s version. “From freshmen to varsity, they’re very well coached.”

Rachel Ventura, who suffered a non-serious arm injury last week, didn’t play, but may be able to return next week, Dwight MacDonald said.

“Right now we have the best league record,” MacDonald said, “but every team in this league is good. We sincerely believe that.”

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