Sierra Leonard Martinez provided a hot start and Rianna Flores provided disruptive defense at the top of the key as Palm Springs High School’s girls’ basketball team defeated Coachella Valley 52-22 Thursday in a key Desert Valley League game.
Leonard Martinez scored 14 points, including two 3-pointers, to lead the Indians on offense. Her 12 points in the first half was more than the entire Arabs’ team, which trailed 38-11 at halftime.
“Sierra really got us going by being aggressive on the offensive end,” Palm Springs coach Terry Tatum said. “She’s done that all season.”
Kaila Gower scored 11 and Joana Adams added 10, despite drawing three fouls in the first half, to lead the Indians.
Katarina Vidana was the only player who scored for Coachella Valley in the first half with 11 points before getting shut out in the second half.
Flores, the Indians point guard, applied pressure that prevented Coachella Valley from getting into its offense to mount any kind of an attack.
“As the point guard, my coach told me to put pressure on their point guard,” Flores said. “When I do that, it messes them up. It was difficult for them to get the ball to their teammates and it shook them up a little bit and I think that helped.”
With the victory, the Indians (6-4 in the DVL) have a firm hold on third place and a playoff spot.
Coachella Valley dropped to 4-6.
The Indians established the pace early jumping out to a 14-4 lead with Leonard Martinez scored eight points, including two 3s during the run.
“I tried to come out as hard as I can because I knew the team needed the win to qualify for playoffs,” Leonard Martinez said.
In the second quarter, the Indians went on a 10-0 run to increase its lead to 30-8 with 4:34 remaining in the first half. The Arabs never got closer than 19 points after that.
Flores finished with four points, but as the senior on a young team, she provided much more than what the stat sheet showed.
“That was the game plan, to put high pressure on them so they would have to run their offense from the outside,” Tatum said. “We felt if we could keep them on the outside, it would be tough on them and take their aggressiveness away, And we’re quick enough to cover.
“Rianna is our senior captain, our floor leader, point guard, defensive person and she runs our offense and she did a stellar job.”