The Chicks’ first round opponent in the 89th annual Pleasant Hill Basketball Invitational were the Raiders from Pembroke Hill. Make that the giant Raiders from Pembroke Hill.
“I don’t think we will play anyone as physical as they are. Holy cow, those two girls are beasts inside,” Chicks head coach Josh Adamczyk said after the game. The girls he referred to were Pembroke Hill’s Jalynn Ervin, at 6-feet tall, and 5-11 Allysa Lisbon.
The two teams could not be more different. Pembroke Hill owned a considerable height advantage with four players 5-10 or taller, while the Chicks were more nimble, using their quickness to out-maneuver the sluggish Raiders.
Pleasant Hill’s Kristin Orpin opened the game with a three point shot creating the first quarter momentum that put the Chicks ahead 8-3 with 2:49 left in the first quarter. It appeared early on that David had a clear advantage over Goliath.
However, as Pleasant Hill breezed to this early advantage, the Raider giant was awakened. Pembroke Hill responded during the next 15:35 by going on an 18-3 run, putting the Chicks down by 10 with 5:36 left in the third quarter 21-11. It was clear that Pembroke Hill leveraged their size advantage to manhandle the Chicks.
“I told them at halftime, they are more physical than us, you have to go after them,” Adamczyk said. “We have some growing up to do.”
After halftime, Pleasant Hill appeared to regain confidence in their play, matching the Raiders shot for shot in the third quarter, chiseling away at the Raider lead. By the end of three quarters the score was 27-21 in favor of Pembroke Hill, however the momentum was beginning to swing in Pleasant Hill’s direction.
During the fourth quarter, the rejuvenated Chicks came alive. Six different players contributed offensively. The star performer was junior Rachel Schick, who scored all of her eight points in the final period. It was enough of a push to position Pleasant Hill for a come-from-behind win.
At the 2:59 mark the Raiders leading scorer, Allysa Lisbon (21 points), committed her fifth foul and exited the game. Leading by one, and without their top offensive weapon, the Raiders took possession of the ball and proceeded to run two minutes off the clock before extending their lead to three.
With determination in her eyes, Pleasant Hill’s Sara Hoke received the inbound pass, drove the length of the court and scored a bucket with 40 seconds left to play. The Chicks had battled hard to make it a one-point game.
The Raiders subsequently turned the ball over with 33 seconds to play. Adamczyk called his last time out for one final shot. This was the break that Pleasant Hill desperately needed.
Once again the size of Pembroke Hill was just enough to reverse the momentum away from Pleasant Hill. On the inbound pass, the Raiders’ Ervin tipped the ball just enough to allow the Raiders to steal the inbound pass and secure the victory for Pembroke Hill.
After the final horn had blown, the only sound that could be heard in the gym was silence.
Adamczyk was proud of his team’s effort. Despite their overwhelming opponent, and only scoring three points in a 15-minute span, the Chicks never folded and stayed with the Raiders until the end.