High School Basketball

Central Section basketball finals: Defense keys Independence girls’ D-II repeat

Bakersfield High’s Shalay Williams has the ball stripped away by Independence’s Ebony Sanders in the teams’ Central Section Division II championship game Friday at Selland Arena. Sanders and her teammates limited the Drillers to 6-of-54 shooting in a 40-23 victory that secured the Falcons a second straight title.
Bakersfield High’s Shalay Williams has the ball stripped away by Independence’s Ebony Sanders in the teams’ Central Section Division II championship game Friday at Selland Arena. Sanders and her teammates limited the Drillers to 6-of-54 shooting in a 40-23 victory that secured the Falcons a second straight title. ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

There is no hidden trick or fancy scheme.

Independence does not press full court or blindside its opponents with half-court traps.

Just a lot of effort and just as much trust in one another. Basic yet highly effective.

And again, the Falcons’ defense proved too much for an opposing team to handle.

Second-seeded Independence held No. 5 Bakersfield to 11.1 percent shooting (6 of 54) on Friday to lock up a 40-23 victory and repeat as Central Section Division II champions at Selland Arena. Both teams advance to the Southern California Regional, with seedings to be announced Sunday.

“It’s our identity,” Independence coach Val Mancera said of a defense that’s keyed three section titles since 2012. “These girls heat it up. They love going after each other.

“It’s basic man (defense) with real fundamental concepts that we can rely on each other, whether it’s help-side or on ball pressure. They play very well with what we ask them to do with our concepts.”

Independence (22-6) limited an opponent to 25 or fewer points for the 13th time.

Its stinginess was obvious from the get-go, as the Falcons did not allow a first-quarter field goal.

In fact, Bakersfield didn’t make a shot until 5:33 remained in the first half.

By halftime, Independence led 21-6.

After three quarters, it was 30-10.

“Their girls play with a lot of heart and a lot of effort,” Drillers coach Jimmy Henry said. “Their effort and energy from the beginning of the game was way higher than ours.

“We turned it up later, but we were so far down by then.”

Independence finished with 13 steals and eight blocks, forced 21 turnovers and held Bakersfield to 1-of-12 shooting on three-pointers.

Falcons sophomore Kahlaijah Dean led all scorers with 13 points to go with eight rebounds, two blocks and three steals.

Senior Shalay Williams had 10 points for Bakersfield.

“This will never get old,” Mancera said. “It’s a wonderful feeling. These girls work so hard. To see them rewarded, it’s great.”

Bryant-Jon Anteola: 559-441-6362, @Banteola_TheBee

No. 2 INDEPENDENCE 40, No. 5 BAKERSFIELD 23

BAKERSFIELD

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Avena

10

0-1

0-0

1-1

0

1

0

Sanders

14

0-3

0-0

2-4

0

1

0

Williams

25

1-12

8-9

4-4

0

3

10

McMillion

30

0-14

2-2

3-12

2

3

2

Caldwell

30

3-18

0-2

3-7

0

0

6

Frink

22

1-1

0-0

2-2

0

1

3

Johnson

8

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

2

0

Hampton

14

1-4

0-0

0-4

0

2

2

Murphy

7

0-1

0-0

0-1

0

2

0

Totals

160

6-54

10-13

21-43

2

15

23

Percentages: FG .111 .769. 3-Point Goals: 1-12, .083 (Williams 0-5, McMillion 0-2, Caldwell 0-3, Frink 1-1, Hampton 0-1). Team Rebounds: 8. Blocked Shots: 4 (Sanders, Caldwell 2, Hampton). Turnovers: 21 (Sanders, Williams 4, McMillion 4, Caldwell 9, Frink 2, Hampton). Steals: 7 (McMillion 2, Caldwell 2, Frink 3).

INDEPENDENCE

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Sanders

26

3-7

1-4

2-11

0

2

7

Dixon

27

3-13

3-4

1-3

0

2

9

D.Wandick

22

2-7

0-4

4-8

1

1

4

Dean

27

5-10

2-3

0-8

2

2

13

Kinder

22

1-7

0-2

6-9

3

4

2

K.Wandick

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Williams

16

2-4

1-2

4-7

1

1

5

Puello

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Chaney

8

0-4

0-0

0-0

0

2

0

Vela

7

0-1

0-0

1-1

1

1

0

Garcia

3

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

160

16-53

7-19

22-51

8

16

40

Percentages: FG .302, FT .368. 3-Point Goals: 1-11, .091 (Dixon 0-3, Dean 1-4, Kinder 0-4). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 8 (Sanders 5, Dean 2, Garcia). Turnovers: 16 (Sanders, Dixon 3, Wandick 3, Dean 3, Kinder 3, Williams 2, Chaney). Steals: 13 (Sanders, Dixon, Wandick, Dean 3, Kinder 3, Williams 2, Chaney, Vela).

Bakersfield

2

4

4

13

23

Independence

13

8

9

10

40

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