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Eich girls lose finals to Granite Oaks

Wildcats second in league tournaments
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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After avenging one of its two prior losses this season in the league tournament semifinal, the Eich girls basketball team was unable to repeat the feat as it lost the title game. The Foothill Intermediate School Athletic League held its postseason girls basketball tournaments Thursday with Rocklin’s Granite Oaks topping Roseville’s W.T. Eich in both the seventh-grade and eighth-grade title games. The Eich eighth-graders, who won the league seventh-grade crown a year ago, were the No. 3 seed in this year’s four-team postseason tournament. At 4-2 the Wildcats had lost regular season meetings with the two Rocklin teams that held down the two spots in the bracket. In the opener, Eich survived a dominating start by Spring View’s Deja Stone and came roaring back to get the Eagles this time, 48-42. Stone scored eight points in the first quarter as she led her team to a 13-10 lead, but she was also saddled with a little bit of foul trouble that caused her to miss most of the second stanza. The Wildcats took full advantage, riding the hot first half performances of Kendra Barnhard and Olivia Francis to a 21-15 lead at intermission. Eich’s pressure defense was most impressive as it held Spring View to just two points in the second quarter. Emilee Gavia helped the Wildcats separate from the Eagles with a 12-point third period as she led her team to a 16-point advantage after the third. With Barnhard and Mimi Anderson turning up the defense on Stone just enough to keep her from going off, Eich withstood a late Spring View surge to pick up the win and advance to the championship game that tipped 20 minutes later. Stone scored 22 points to lead all scorers, while Bykema Mobley added seven for Spring View. The Wildcats were led by Gavia’s 19, while Francis scored 11 and Barnhard filled up the stat sheet with 10 points, 18 rebounds and four steals. Eich was not able to duplicate its comeback efforts in the nightcap, as it fell behind unbeaten Granite Oaks 26-9 by halftime, and despite a barrage of three-point shooting in the third, could not get back on top. Granite Oaks claimed the league title with the win. Gavia and Anderson each scored 10 points to pace Eich, while Francis added nine. Granite Oaks’ Morgan Green scored 17 points to lead all scorers, with teammate Aelish Guinn dropping in 15 to lead Granite Oaks to a 50-38 win. Defense was the key, as Granite Oaks turned steals into transition baskets. Brooke Wagner was a strong presence to battle Barnhard in the paint. Granite Oaks, the No. 2 seed in the seventh-grade tournament, knocked off unbeaten No. 1 seed Eich in that title game by the score of 32-25. Kaitlyn Solomon scored eight points to lead the way for Granite Oaks.