Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Bishop Amat High School’s girls basketball team was leaving nothing to chance in its Del Rey League opener on Thursday against visiting St. Paul.
The Lancers, who shared last year’s league title with Bishop Montgomery and Serra, figure this year’s race is going to be just as tight and erupted in the first quarter for an early double-digit lead en route to a 67-34 win over the Swordsmen.
“I read what (Glendora boys basketball) coach Mike LeDuc said the other day after his team beat Los Osos,” Amat coach Richard Wiard said. “He said ‘If you want to win a league title, you’d better win the home opener. Otherwise, you’re going to be in trouble.’
“We did that and the other three teams in our league are all very good. They’re all ranked either No. 1 or 2 in their CIF divisions, so it’s going to be a challenge.
Amat improved to 15-3 overall and 1-0 in league. St. Paul is now in a big hole considering Thursday was its second league loss (15-5, 0-2).The Swordsmen get a week off to regroup before they play Bishop Montgomery.
Amat attacked the rim early with big success. Vianai Austin’s short banker made it 17-5 late in the first quarter. Freshman Janae Chamois came off the bench for two baskets to make it 21-5 at the end of the first quarter.
“We did think that tonight we’d be able to attack the basket a little bit;” Wiard said. “We felt that we would be a little quicker than them. Our offense is designed to take whatever they give us. If they gave us open shots, we’d take the open shots.
“They (St. Paul) didn’t shoot particularly well in that first quarter, but I thought that we were ready to go defensively.”
Amat eventually led 32-16 at halftime. Austin and Powell made sure early in the second half that there would be no chance of a St. Paul comeback. The Lancers’ duo scored two baskets each for the first eight points of the half and the rout was on.
Powell, a sophomore, led all scorers with 17. Austin finished with 14. Marissa Rendon led St. Paul with 14.