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Wildcats Thunder-struck in preseason finale

Rocklin improves to 9-8
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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It wasn’t the kind of game Whitney High’s girls basketball team would have envisioned going against cross-town rival Rocklin High, but it certainly was for the Thunder as Rocklin rolled to a 60-36 triumph, Jan. 6 The ladies in blue forced the Wildcats into committing 15 turnovers in the first quarter alone to take a commanding 22-point lead. Whitney took better care of the ball in the second period, but was still outscored 12-11 as Rocklin served notice to the Sierra Foothill League of its intentions going into conference play. Part of the Thunder’s motivation was a 60-58 loss to Placer High School, Jan. 3. “We had a meeting after the Placer game and came to the conclusion we’re a better team than we’ve been playing lately,” said Rocklin’s Joie Camalo, who scored 20 points against Whitney. “Last year Del Oro was a big threat, but even then we battled and played our hearts out. And this year we’re going to come out even stronger.” And that they did as they forced the ‘Cats into 38 turnovers in all, and refused to allow their rivals to penetrate their defense. Rocklin also out-rebounded Whitney, 42-34. At 6-6, the Thunder’s Jaimie Curtis is a force to be reckoned with under the boards. However, the junior has yet to find her role and is often used sparingly. Still, that hasn’t been a problem for Rocklin head coach Rob Ferraro who is getting great board work and scoring from junior Lydia Summers and freshman Kaitlyn Solomon. “I was pleased with the intensity we came out with from the opening tip,” said Ferraro. “If we can play with this intensity and desire, and sustain it for 32 minutes, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.” Whitney, on the other hand, has some work to do. The Wildcats are averaging a little more than 44 points a game, and less than 25 rebounds per contest. Their record now stands a 5-11 in preseason, and the lion’s share of the scoring has fallen on the shoulders of senior Alex Rodriguez. She has been averaging a little better than 18 points a game. Junior post player Masirah Holmes gives Whitney strength in the front court, but she has been plagued by foul trouble. At 6-2, Holmes is also a force in the middle, but her scoring average is less than seven points a game, and her rebounding less than six per contest. Junior point guard Kristin Ladas has been scoring in double figures, but has less than three assists per outing. Turnovers have also haunted Ladas, who might be trying to carry too much of the team’s load. “We were dribbling too much, instead of passing the ball to the middle like we planned on doing,” said Whitney head coach Andy Carter as to the difficulty his club had with Rocklin’s press. “I think we had a good plan to beat Rocklin, but we didn’t follow that plan.” However, Carter was pleased with his club’s effort on the boards against Curtis, and feels the ‘Cats have maintained a good attitude in spite of the preseason losses. He felt his team lost its attention to detail, perhaps because of the energy that goes into a rivalry game. In spite of the lopsided victory, Camalo didn’t feel the game was a pushover for the Thunder. She gave full credit to her opponents for fighting back, even when the game seemed out of reach. “It wasn’t an easy game,” said Camalo. “We were up by a lot and they came back, so it wasn’t easy. They are our rival.” Whitney opens Capital Athletic League play hosting Mira Loma, Friday. The Matadors are 1-12. If the Wildcats come into that game with the intensity Carter would like to see, it might be a confidence booster for the team. They will then have to go back-to-back against Rio Americano (11-7), and El Camino (13-3). They will host the Raiders, Jan. 18, and travel to face the Eagles, Jan. 20. Rocklin will waste no time going into Sierra Foothill League play by entertaining Del Oro, Friday. At 8-7, the Golden Eagles should match up well against the Thunder. Rocklin is scheduled to play Roseville, Jan. 18, at home, and then travel to Grass Valley for a game against Nevada Union, Jan. 20. Rocklin 60, Whitney 36 Wildcats 1 11 8 16 – 36 Thunder 23 12 21 4 – 60