Placer girls beat Patterson, advance to section semifinalsBy: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
For the third time in three nights, the home team came away with a playoff victory at Earl Crabbe Gym.
Baylee Vanderdoes had a team-high 11 points, Elena Daniel added 10 and the fourth-seeded Lady Hillmen earned a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III semifinals with a 58-44 victory over No. 5 Patterson Thursday in Auburn.
Now both the Placer boys and girls teams will have to hit the road in order to stay alive in their respective tournaments. The Lady Hillmen will head to Cosumnes River College Tuesday night to take on top-seeded Christian Brothers (22-7), while the Placer boys play at No. 2 Sierra today.
Thursday’s win was a special one for Placer’s seniors, such as Ari Jansen.
“That was just huge,” said Jensen, a three-year varsity player who scored six points against Patterson (24-3). “It was our last, I think, home game unless we go all the way to NorCal. But that was such a great feeling — like I really can’t express how great that was. It was huge for us seniors. It’s going to be a great memory that we’re going to hold.”
With the win, Placer improved to 25-4 on the year.
“It’s probably the best team I’ve been on in my three seasons and I couldn’t be more proud of us,” Jensen said. “This is a great achievement.”
Against Patterson, it appeared as if the Lady Hillmen were going to get off to a quick start, scoring four unanswered points in the game’s first 43 seconds. But after six minutes of play, Placer led just 4-3.
Behind Daniel’s 10 points, all of which came in the first half, Placer grabbed a 12-7 lead at the end of one and was up 28-22 at the break.
Kerry McCullough scored nine points and Lauren Collins added seven for Placer, which led by double digits for a good portion of the second half and has yet to trail in the playoffs.
“I’m so happy for them, especially the seniors,” coach Tony Camillucci said. “I told them it’s been a long time since a girls team has gone this far. It’s good to end their career here with a win. There’s a possibility we could come back. But for now I told them just to enjoy that, especially the seniors, soak that feeling in and I’ll see you tomorrow for practice.”
Others scoring for Placer included Maddie Graham (six points), Olivia Holmes (4) Kirstin Schauble (3) and Raquel Quirarte (2).
Through the two opening rounds, McCullough and Vanderdoes have both recorded a team-high 20 points.
The freshman Vanderdoes credited the older players on her team with helping her get points on the board.
Said Vanderdoes: “I couldn’t have shot well if it wasn’t for the seniors giving me the ball and like all the passing and us playing together.”