Placer finds formula to pull away

Tense early moments quickly quelled as Lady Hillmen use 26-0 run to drop Dixon
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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A few Lauren Hare steals, a couple of Madison Meade lay-ups and a three-point play from Kasey Riecks turned Scott Barry's nervous pacing into a big sigh of relief Tuesday night. The first-year Placer High girls basketball coach watched his team end the first half of its Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff opener on a 14-0 run. The fourth-seeded Lady Hillmen buried Dixon with 12 more points to start the third quarter on their way to a 67-43 win. There were some tense early moments for Barry before his team booked a second-round showdown with No. 5 seed Vanden on Thursday. Placer missed wide-open shots and blew several lay-ups early in the second quarter before pulling away. They were playing terrible and we were playing great, and yet it was 21-17 and I was like, ˜Oh, jeez,' Barry said. Then we came out with that spurt before the half and that calmed their nerves a little bit. I knew they'd come around, but I was nervous waiting for them. Dixon had no answer for Placer's relentless full-court press. The Lady Hillmen came up with 28 steals, which Barry said is a new school record. Hare had seven of those thefts. Riecks and Meade added five steals each. At first we were kind of excited, Meade said. Once we got our composure we just started to attack. Riecks finished with a game-high 20 points. Meade scored 16 and Hare had five assists to go with her stellar defensive effort. Bailey Bill scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds off the bench for Placer (23-4). Thursday's showdown with Vanden will be the third postseason game between the two teams in four seasons. The Lady Hillmen beat the Vikings in the second round of the 2005 and '06 playoffs. Placer was eliminated by El Camino in the second round of last season's playoffs. The Vikings (24-4) beat Livingston 73-34 Tuesday night in Fairfield after tying with Rodriguez atop the Solano County League. Senior guard Vintea Georges (21 points per game) leads Vanden. Barry doesn't plan to stray from the tactics that helped Placer cruise to the Pioneer Valley League title and secure a first-round playoff win. I would anticipate they probably don't like to be pressed, Barry said. So that's what we'll do to them.