Oakmont girls pull away from Granite Bay, move to 13-3
Zach Lovell didn’t expect this kind of success so early in his first season as head coach of the girls basketball team at Oakmont High School.
But now that the Vikings are 13-3 following an 89-72 victory over Granite Bay at home Thursday night, Lovell is ready for his team to shift gears.
“Everybody steps it up for league,” Lovell said Friday afternoon before Oakmont’s final nonleague game at Roseville. “I like the way we’re playing right now, but we need to take that step as well.”
The Vikings broke open a tight game with the Grizzlies (8-8) by making three three-pointers in a row bridging the third and fourth quarters. Olivia Francis led Oakmont with 17 points and Emilee Gavia scored 14. The Vikings’ 15 three-pointers came from seven players, and 12 players scored.
“It was a really nice, balanced attack,” Lovell said.
Lovell spent the previous few seasons coaching basketball and football with Tad Jinguji at Mesa Verde and Rio Americano. That included stints as offensive and defensive coordinator for Lovell. Both were hired as teachers at Oakmont before the school year started.
Being on campus, Lovell and Jinguji, his assistant, were able to talk more girls into joining five returning seniors. They implemented a hybrid of the up-tempo, attacking, run-and-gun Grinnell System, which includes constant substitutions, and his players bought in.
“We’re able to back that up with important minutes for everybody early in the game,” Lovell said. “We ask the girls to play as hard as they possibly can, and the sub patterns allow them to play their hearts out. We put a lot of pressure on other teams. Trying to wear people down has been working.”
Lovell said senior Brittany Martin has been “invaluable” distributing the ball. Juniors Francis, Gavia and Sydney Sattelberg lead the team in scoring, Junior Kendra Barnhard is the leading rebounder, and senior Bianca Aibuedefe anchors the defense and leads the team in steals.
“We have a great group of girls we inherited,” Lovell said. “I could list the whole team. Contributions are coming from everywhere. Girls are stepping up all over the place.”
Roseville 60, West Campus 58 (OT) — Cole Jacobs pushed the ball up the floor and passed to Marcus Garcia for the winning layup before the buzzer in overtime, and the Tigers (15-2) will have a week off to rest and prepare for their Sierra Foothill League opener Jan. 10 at Granite Bay.
Roseville let a three-point lead get away in the final 28 seconds of regulation, then trailed by five in overtime before coming back to tie the score. Dillon Bortmas had a key blocked shot in overtime.
Seniors Daniel Rios and Cole Jacobs led the Tigers with 21 and 11 points.