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Whitney disarms Lancers in 35-27 defensive battle

Teams combine for 25-percent shooting
By: Jim Linsdau/Placer Herald Sports Editor
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It was a battle under the boards as the Whitney High girls basketball team set out to avenge its Capital Athletic League first-round loss to Cordova, and the Wildcats made good, 35-27. Seniors Alex Rodriguez and Jacara Givhan performed well during their farewell game before the hometown crowd combining for 13 points and 16 rebounds to help lead the ‘Cats. The Lancers’ concern over Rodriguez was evident from the start as they tried desperately to deny her the ball. Rodriguez scored 20 against Cordova in the Jan. 25 game. With post player Masirah Holmes unable to play in the game, Whitney head coach Andy Carter had to move Rodriguez under the basket. The 5-9 Rodriguez held her own in the position but couldn’t get free for any perimeter shots. Rodriguez trails only point-guard Kristin Ladas in three-point goals made this season. “(Rodriguez) used to be a post player but she’s a lot better outside. She hasn’t played post a lot,” said Carter. “We needed her there for her experience as far as rebounding and defense, and she’s done a really good job in past games defending their post players.” While Rodriguez did a great job inside, her teammates did their part by picking up the scoring slack. Junior forward Molly Miles scored eight and Ladas added another five, including a three-pointer. Givhan also drained a three to help spark the offense. “We played for pride tonight and really earned it,” said Givhan “My teammates made everything really special with the senior night stuff they gave us; it just made me feel like really loved. We won, so that was really good.” Both Givhan and Rodriguez wore pink T-shirts prior to the game while their teammates wore red. Scoring was at a premium as both teams applied a solid defense to try and slow the other club. The Lancers attempted to make a run in the fourth quarter narrowing Whitney’s lead to four, but the Wildcats picked up their transition game to pull away in the closing minutes. “Whenever I play low I just try to play hard. I body people up because it’s really tough down there and I just have to play strong,” said Rodriguez as to changing here role of play. “My big thing is getting rebounds. If I can’t score I can always get rebounds.” Rodriguez pulled down an unofficial 12 rebounds to lead both teams. Over the course of the game, Whitney held the rebounding edge over Cordova 35-28. Carter said the Lancers dominated the boards in their first meeting so his strategy was to take away that advantage, and it worked. Although the ‘Cats will lose their scoring leader, Carter is still looking forward to the coming season, and beyond. After his first year as head coach, he has potentially nine returning lettermen, perhaps some players coming back from injuries, and both a junior varsity and freshman team that are tops in their respective league divisions. “The future’s very bright here,” said Carter looking forward to next year, and beyond. “It is what it is the first year. Hopefully, (the players) understand what it’s going to take at the varsity level. And we have a bunch of kids coming from the JV that are used to winning. The JV ‘Cats are 18-6 and undefeated in the Capital Athletic League. The freshman team is also having an outstanding year. Whitney will close out its season on the road against a good Antelope team. The Titans are 17-7, 6-3 in league. They defeated the Wildcats 66-54 in their first meeting. JV _ Whitney 58, Cordova 29 – Whitney’s junior varsity had little trouble subduing Cordova. Varsity _ El Camino 66, Whitney 23 _ The Eagles stayed unbeaten in the CAL. Rodriguez had 16 points in the contest and pulled down eight rebounds. Givhan had seven boards. JV _ Whitney 46, El Camino 41 WHITNEY 35, CORDOVA 27 Lancers 7 2 9 9 – 27 Wildcats 8 6 9 12 – 35 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Whitney – Ladas 1-8 2-4 5, Armstrong 0-4 2-2 2, Givhan 3-6, 0-0 7, Meyer 2-6 0-0 4, McConnell 1-3 1-2 3, Miles 4-7 0-0 8, Dagnino 0-4 0-0 0, Rodriguez 2-8 2-4 6. Team Totals – Cordova 11-49 5-16 27. Whitney 13-46 8-12 35. Rebounds – Cordova 28. Whitney 35 (Rodriguez 12). Turnovers – Cordova 20. Whitney 27. 3-Point Goals – Cordova 0. Whitney 2 (Ladas, Givhan).