Mesa Dominates Rancho Verde in Lopsided Victory

#20 Octavia Williams exploits the Rancho Verde defense Murrieta Mesa High School dominated Rancho Verde High School in a lopsided victor...

#20 Octavia Williams exploits the Rancho Verde defense
Murrieta Mesa High School dominated Rancho Verde High School in a lopsided victory, winning 53-25 in girls basketball action Wednesday night.

From the start of the game, the Rams of Murrieta Mesa (10-5) played exceptional defense, never allowing the Mustangs to find their rhythm. It didn't help that Rancho Verde (4-8) failed at the fundamentals such as layups and free throw shooting. The Mustangs only shot 8-23 from the line the entire game.

The Rams were able to capitalize on the Mustangs' mistakes and take a 14-6 lead after one quarter of play. A mixture of a full-court and half-court press led to early turnovers by Rancho Verde, resulting in Rams' points.

#24 Mikayla Greens shoots a free throw
The tight defense by the Rams also led to early foul trouble though. A minute into the second quarter, the Mustangs already found themselves in the bonus, but were unable to take advantage of the situation. Putting up a 6-0 scoring run in the middle of the second quarter, Rancho Verde put together their best quarter of scoring and cutting into the Murrieta Mesa's lead.

At halftime, the Mustangs were still in the game with the score at 24-17. This would be the closest that the Mustangs would get to coming back.

Running out of the locker room late after halftime, Murrieta Mesa never showed a moment of mercy for the rest of the game. Led by senior Octavia Williams, the Rams exploited holes in the Mustangs 2-3 zone defense, with quick passing, and open jump shots. When the Rams missed, they were able to grab their own rebounds, grabbing 4 offensive rebounds alone in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter.

Murrieta Mesa's defense came out relentless too, almost shutting out Rancho Verde completely. The Mustangs were unable to score until senior JaLynn Bennett scored on a layup with only 4 seconds left in the quarter, putting the score at 43-19.

Giving the bench some minutes, the Rams not only held onto their massive lead, but they expanded it. The Mustangs made a late push, trying to push the ball inside to gain quick points, but the Rams' Kiah Ware played tough defense and disrupted the play of the Rancho Verde offense. Showing frustration, one Rancho Verde defender battled so hard for a rebound against Ware, that she spun herself to the ground with the ball in her hands and was called for a travel violation.

After a Mustangs' score with 2:31 left in the game, the Rams held Rancho Verde scoreless for the rest of the game and won 53-25.

Notable performers for the Rams included Williams, who scored 14 points, and Mikayla Greens who scored 10 points. Bennett was the only Rancho Verde player able to score in the double digits, leading Rancho Verde with 10 points.

Murrieta Mesa will next face Norco High School (10-5) at home on Jan. 9.

#33 Jessica Brogden shoots a short jumper over a Rancho Verde defender

#11 Bryana Hairston drives past a defender to the basket
#20 Octavia Williams controls the ball on offense
#24 Mikayla Greens grabs the long rebound

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