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Sonora, Riverbank Claw Their Way Past Oakdale
Varsity player Emery Sipe buckles down on defense during Friday nights thriller that resulted in a 47-45 Sonora victory. Sipe had eight rebounds and a steal while also scoring two points for the varsity Lady Mustangs. DENNIS D. CRUZ/The Leader


It was a rough night for the Lady Mustangs overall as teams at all three levels – freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams lost to longtime rivals, the Sonora Wildcats on Dec. 19. Even though Sonora is no longer in the Valley Oak League, there was that midseason atmosphere when the teams clashed in a non-league preseason girls’ varsity basketball game in Oakdale. The youngest Lady Mustangs fell 57-19 and the JV team tumbled, 60-23 against the visitors.

After a hard fought, entertaining game, the Wildcats also came out the victor in the varsity contest but by a much smaller margin, 47-45.

After a slow paced first quarter that ended in an 8-8 tie, both teams got the offense going over the remainder of the game. With 6:38 left in the second quarter, Oakdale’s Courtney Rodgers launched a corner three to give the Lady Mustangs a 17-10 advantage. After a Sonora timeout, they answered with a pair of threes of their own to close the gap to 17-16 midway through the quarter. The Wildcats ended the quarter on a 6-1 run to take a 24-23 halftime lead.

Sonora’s defensive play continued to prevail early in the third as they opened the quarter on a 5-0 run resulting in a Lady Mustang time out. Junior Micaela Maaske broke up the run as she connected on a pair of free throws after drawing the hard foul on her way to the hoop. The Lady Mustangs battled back in the third to enter the final quarter down 39-35.

Down 41-35; a technical foul on Sonora’s Sandra Renda gave junior Maddi Hackbarth a free trip the charity stripe, and Hackbarth took advantage making both free throws with 5:49 remaining in the final quarter. Oakdale’s Colleen Ibasco connected on a midrange jumper to give the Lady Mustangs their first lead of the second half, 42-41with 3:46 left to play.

Sonora’s Bailey Henington took over as she connected on a three ball from the top of the arc, then followed up making one of her two free throw attempts following a foul. With a 45-42 Sonora advantage with 41 seconds left, Hackbarth planted her feet and fired a deep three that found its way into the hoop to tie it up.

“We were just trying to get anything to drop at that point. We were looking for any open shot and when I saw the clock running down I planted my feet and let it go, and it went in,” Hackbarth said of her game-tying three.

Henington, however, didn’t waste any time going down the court and slashed her way through the Oakdale defense and connected on a finger roll to give Sonora the 47-45 lead with 21.3 seconds left.

Oakdale attempted four shots in the final seconds but couldn’t get one to fall, resulting in the loss.

“They made more plays then we did. They took advantage of some of our mistakes and that was the difference tonight,” said coach Justin Schwitters of the tough loss.

Earlier in the week, the Lady Mustang teams visited Riverbank and the varsity girls took the loss but the JV girls grabbed a win.

Oakdale stopped by on Tuesday, Dec. 16. for girls basketball action.

The Lady Mustangs varsity squad gave up four points to the Lady Bruins in the first couple minutes of the game, and the host Lady Bruins capitalized, leading 14-6 at the end of the quarter. OHS outscored Riverbank 13-11 in the second quarter but the Bruins maintained the lead at the half, 25-19.

The visiting Lady Mustangs outscored RHS in the third quarter, 8-6, but Riverbank held on and took the win off the court with a final score of 48-41. In the junior varsity game, the Oakdale squad was much more successful, ending the first half ahead 50-21. In the third quarter, RHS added 10 more points, but OHS was still on top, 57-31. OHS outscored host Riverbank in the fourth quarter as well, taking the win.

Oakdale outshot Riverbank from the outside and outmuscled them under the basket, coming out on top, 65-36.

The Lady Mustangs were slated to on the road during the holiday break to take on Buhach Colony on Tuesday, Dec. 23, after press time for The Leader, and will play Atwater on Friday, Jan. 2.


Correspondent Ric McGinnis contributed to this report.