Whitney girls edge Rocklin in overtime

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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His players were tired, and Rocklin High School girls basketball coach Rob Ferraro could not blame them. The Thunder chased Whitney’s Kristin Ladas and Morgan Green for four quarters Tuesday night. The two guards finally got away in overtime to lead the Wildcats to a 62-54 victory on their home court. “We played hard, but we were expending a lot of energy (on defense),” Ferraro said. “We got called for traveling a couple of times in overtime, and those are what I call fatigue turnovers.” Ladas and Green each scored seven points in the extra four minutes. Ladas finished with 24. Green added 19 as she follows in the footsteps of Ladas by playing with the varsity team as a freshman. Although Ladas is just 5-foot-3, Whitney coach Joel Williams measures the sophomore by her “big heart.” That was evident in overtime as Ladas drove to the basket to put Whitney (3-4) ahead to stay. Her one-handed scoop shot gave the Wildcats a 46-44 lead with 2:39 to play in overtime. Ladas made it 58-51 with 37 seconds left when she hit a layup, was fouled and sank the free throw. Joie Camalo responded with a 3-pointer for Rocklin, but the Thunder was forced to foul as time ticked away. Green and Ladas each hit two free throws in the final 19 seconds to seal the deal. Camalo led Rocklin (3-5) with 15 points. Courtney Grant scored 11. Whitney finally got its act together after trailing 24-17 at halftime and 32-31 after three quarters, “We always start out slow,” Ladas said. Williams attributed the slow start to his team’s inability to break Rocklin’s full-court press. A strategy adjustment at halftime solved that problem, allowing Whitney to get its offense going. “We reviewed the press break (during Monday’s practice), but then we didn’t do it at all,” Williams said. “We lost our composure.” Whatever Williams tweaked at halftime worked for Whitney. The Wildcats scored nearly many points in the third quarter (14) as they did in the entire first half by keeping the tempo to their liking. “They don’t get tired,” Williams said. “We worked pretty hard on conditioning in the offseason.” The Wildcats also realized what was at stake in Tuesday night’s game. It was not just another nonleague contest. “This is a cross-town rivalry,” Ladas said. “We had it in our heads that we weren’t going to lose.”