Lincoln girls halt Galt in Invite opener

Gonzales scores 16 in contest
By: Jim Linsdau of The News Messenger
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The Lincoln High girls junior varsity basketball team had an easy time of it against Galt Monday night in the opening round of the 26th annual Invitational Tournament in the Fighting Zebras' small gym.

The Zebras broke out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter of play and never let the Warriors back into the game. With a 36-8 lead at halftime, it was a matter of trying to keep up intensity as play became a little ragged.

“To start out, yes; to finish, no,” said Lincoln JV head coach Donna Tofft, as to her satisfaction with her team’s focus as the game wore on. “But it is kind of hard. I told them I still wanted them in stance; we can steal the ball, but we’re supposed to walk it up.”

And that showed throughout the contest. In the second half, Lincoln scored 17 total points, but still outscored Galt in each frame. The advantage was Tofft was able to get her players to understand the concept of getting behind and passing below against a zone defense.

Although 5-6 on the season so far, Tofft said her team has played with more physicality this season than last.

“We’re more athletic than we were last year,” said Tofft. “I like when we play with intensity. I like our 22-plus in our zone. We’re starting to play a lot better together.”

Tofft said her club did an excellent job against Golden Sierra earlier in the season.

Unofficially, Natalie Gonzales led the Zebras with 16 points and Katie Sterling tallied 11; Lexie Smith and Jessica Hooks each had six. The girls in blue also dominated the boards.

Lincoln was scheduled to meet the winner of the Wheatland vs. Gridley game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.