Two games, two losses, each by two points.
After crafting some satisfying wins to start the Valley Oak League campaign, the Oakdale varsity Lady Mustangs have had some trouble finishing their contests of late, and this past week fell to both Lathrop and Sonora by a single bucket.
At Lathrop for a Wednesday, Jan. 22 contest, the low scoring game was a 30-28 loss for the Mustangs.
A 9-7 first quarter lead for Lathrop ballooned into a 21-11 edge at the half and though the varsity girls battled back with a strong third quarter (13-5 scoring lead) they still trailed 26-24 entering the final frame. Baskets were hard to come by for each team in that final quarter, with only four points scored by either side and Lathrop got away with the 2-point victory.
Hosting Sonora for the final time in VOL play on Friday night, the girls started strong and played with the Wildcats in a 14-13 opening quarter that saw the visitors in the lead. Oakdale had a 16-9 run in the second quarter to lead it at the half, 29-23, with Alyssa Freeman hitting for a dozen points in the first half, Micaela Maaske adding five.
With an 11-7 run in the third, the Lady Mustangs entered the final eight minutes with a 10-point lead, 40-30, but ultimately found themselves on the wrong end of the final score, again by just a 2-point differential.
“We lost both games by 2 points, so it was a very rough week for us,” said head coach Justin Schwitters. “Sonora made their free throws down the stretch and we didn’t, that was the game.”
Sonora was 14-for-17 from the line in the fourth quarter, Oakdale went 3-for-10 from the line in the fourth and missed two front ends of 1 and 1’s, so essentially they were 3-for-12.
“So right now we are 2-4 in league and tied with three other teams for fourth place,” Schwitters added. “We are just about to start the second round through league, so there are still opportunities to get back in the mix for a playoff spot.”
The top three VOL teams will make it to playoffs this season so the Lady Mustangs will need to get some wins against teams they didn’t take down the first time around.
“Sonora right now is the third place team,” Schwitters said.
The girls were slated to travel to Manteca on Tuesday, past press time for The Leader, to wrap up the first round of VOL play.
“Then we travel to East Union on Thursday for a rematch,” the coach said of starting the second round. “We just need to make sure we keep learning from our mistakes, never make the same mistake twice has to be our motto moving forward.”