Sierra Canyon girls basketball comes back to beat Windward in overtime thriller: 3 observations

CHATSWORTH– Despite trailing by 13 points in the second half, Sierra Canyon was firing on all cylinders down the stretch in an impressive 56-54 league victory over Windward.

Vanessa DeJesus led Sierra Canyon in scoring with 17 points and in assists on a night when multiple Trailblazers were scoring at a high level.

Here are three observations from the game:

DIFFERENT TAKES ON SIZE

One of the most interesting facets of the match-up was that both teams had roughly equal size, but in opposite distribution.

Sierra Canyon has a bigger frontcourt rotation with Alexis Mark, Rosemary Odebunmi, and Tama Fonoti. However, they have a much smaller backcourt with two point guards in Vanessa DeJesus and Ashley Chevalier, and a shooting guard in Sofia Ruelas–all three of whom were often on the court at the same time.

Windward doesn’t lack for frontcourt size or length, but they have multiple perimeter players upwards of six-feet with length and athleticism. Their immense size in the backcourt and on the wings brings them up to the same average height in their core rotation, if not even a bit taller. McKayla Williams, Michelle Duchemin, and Juju Watkins, among others, were both scoring over/through smaller perimeter defenders and beating bigger defenders with quickness in space.

So, one would expect Sierra Canyon to crash the offensive glass successfully, and in turn, expect Windward to be hard to stop in transition since nearly all their players can run a fastbreak. And that’s exactly how it went.

DEJESUS DOMINATES DESPITE BRIEF SLUMP

Vanessa DeJesus knocked down an early three that might have been her first field goal attempt on the night, but then went cold from the field for most of the first half. And she did the right thing by shooting through it.

With her quick bucket and star status, Windward’s defense never eased up on her even when she had missed a good few shots in a row. The amount they were keyed in on her left some opportunities for her teammates, among whom there is plenty more elite talent.

As a result, she was dishing her teammates up all game long and making a major dent on the game even while struggling to hit shots for a stretch. Then in the second half she got really hot from deep and was still facilitating at a high-level, and there was no stopping her.

PREMIER BALL MOVEMENT

Both of these teams dazzled with their ball movement, as they do regularly. Windward’s ability to turn stops into great outlet passes and layups is nearly mechanical, and they have a lot of players who can get into the paint and feel out where the right kick is, especially Williams.

Sierra Canyon’s ball movement, was even a bit more impressive, particularly in halfcourt sets. DeJesus and Chevalier both have next-level court vision, and DeJesus had numerous no-look assists in traffic. With Sierra Canyon’s combination of sizable low-post threats and floor spacing, their high-low game was very hard to stop in a small sample size as well.

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