The Sanford girls basketball team struggled to get its offense in gear on Tuesday.
But that’s OK, because the Warriors’ defense was in overdrive.
No. 2-ranked Sanford pressured No. 3 Caravel from start to finish, keeping the Buccaneers’ guards out of the lane and turning an anticipated showdown into a 57-30 rout at the Sanford Sports Center.
“We did an excellent job defensively,” Warriors coach Marcus Thompson said. “We didn’t do much offensively in the first half. But when you can go in [to halftime] against a very good team and be up 11 points and you really haven’t hit your stride offensively, that means you’re doing a heck of a job on the defensive end.”
Sanford (12-1) won its 10th straight, with the only setback coming in a 53-47 loss at No. 4 St. Elizabeth on Dec. 17. The Warriors held Caravel (8-4) to 2 of 18 shooting in the first half on the way to a 21-10 lead.
“Coach told us to push the intensity so we could stop their penetration,” said Sanford sophomore Chrishyanah Alston, who hit her last seven shots and finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. “They’re a penetration team, so defense was the key.”
The Warriors were aggressive from the opening tip, as Caravel’s only point in the first quarter came on a free throw with 42 seconds left. Sanford ran out to an 11-1 lead, getting scoring from five different players.
The Buccaneers finally found the basket with Ky’Asia Stanford’s fast-break score 22 seconds into the second quarter. But the Warriors’ intensity never wavered, and Alison Lewis turned Ayanna Thompson’s steal into a layup to push the lead to 19-7 with 1:54 left in the half.
“It’s about contesting,” Thompson said. “They are great shooters, and you cannot let them get any space. We really pride ourselves on getting out and contesting shots.”
Sanford got its offense going in the third quarter, with many of the buckets created by turnovers. Lewis, Alston and Taylor Samuels did all of the damage as the Warriors ripped off 17 straight points. Alston’s steal and layup made it 38-12 with 2:56 left in the third quarter.
“We just wanted to rebound the ball and get out in transition a little sooner,” Thompson said. “We knew that we have a lot of depth. We knew that by the third quarter into the fourth quarter, their legs would be gone. We were just out in transition every time we had one more than they had.”
Lewis added 10 points for the Warriors, and Hadiya Tucker and Taylor Sparks-Faulkner each scored eight. Caravel got 10 points from Stanford and seven points and nine rebounds from freshman Grace Lange.