In a game of furious pace and loose ball scrambles, Templeton High’s girls basketball team seized control for a 54-45 win on Wednesday against Arroyo Grande at the Perry Ford Holiday Tournament in Morro Bay.
Templeton (4-1) drained five 3-pointers, and guard Megan Hattar notched 19 points for Templeton, including three 3-pointers. Teammate Mari Stewart added 17 points.
Templeton took a 27-18 halftime lead, but Arroyo Grande (3-3) mounted an aggressive comeback in the second half, using a full-court press to force turnovers and pull within four points twice late in the game.
Point guard Olivia Galindo was the high-scorer for Arroyo Grande with 17 and made several key defensive stops and steals to keep her team close.
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Krista St. Denis, who had 10 points, drilled a 3-pointer for Arroyo Grande early in the fourth quarter to bring her team within 45-41.
But Templeton was able to hang on by building a cushion and slowing down the pace in the final minutes.
One of Hatter’s 3s came in the third to give Templeton a 32-20 margin before Arroyo Grande coach Bryan Hutchins called for the press that tightened the contest.
In a game that was at times out of control, working to minimize turnovers will be a goal, Templeton coach Shawn Koehler.
“We didn’t play well but we found a way to win,” Koehler said. “I’m happy by the fight that our team showed. That’s something we’ve had all season thus far. We just need to work on turnovers.”
Koehler said that Stewart has been fighting an illness the past three days and played well considering she was under the weather.
Stewart, a Tribune all-county second team selection last year, averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds, helping her team to a 23-8 record. At 5-foot-11, she figures to be a key player inside.
She had to come out of the game more often than usual, but her coach said he was “proud of the way she battled” to finish with 17.
Galindo helped lead Arroyo Grande’s comeback, rattling off six straight points in the second half and knocking down four of six free throws in the game. Freshman center Ashlyn Herlihy tallied nine points for Arroyo Grande.
Templeton faces Elk Grove at 3:30 p.m. today at Morro Bay High, and Arroyo Grande played Garces from Bakersfield at 6:30 p.m. at San Luis Obispo High in the second game of the tournament for each squad. The round-robin tournament runs through Saturday.