Girls basketball: Gervais girls fall 41-33 after rally against No. 3 Blanchet
The Gervais girls basketball team turned a would-be rout into a near upset on Friday, losing 41-33 to the No. 3 Blanchet Catholic Cavaliers (13-5, 5-1 PacWest Conference).
Coming off a 32-31 upset loss at Colton on Jan. 16, the Cougars appeared to be unable to match up against the Cavaliers' smothering press defense on Friday.
The Cavs raced out to a 17-4 lead in the first quarter and held a 20-8 advantage after the first eight minutes before the Cougars found their rhythm and began pushing back.
Led largely by the team's freshman quartet of Celi Vasquez, Lilly Welburn, Katie Hanson and Mary Davidson, Gervais rallied in the second quarter to hold Blanchet to just five points.
Meanwhile, the team's seniors took the scoring load in the period, with Alyssa Ventura and Natali Herinckx combining to put up seven points as the Cougars cut their deficit to 25-17 entering halftime.
The rally continued coming out of the break behind Vasquez, Hanson and Herinckx. The trio combined to score 12 points in the period, helping Gervais go on an 8-2 run that put the team down just 27-25 midway through the quarter.
But the Cavaliers finally found their stride, going on a mini run of their own to build their lead to 36-31 by the end of the quarter.
The two teams battled in a tense defensive showdown for the final eight minutes. Blanchet and Gervais combined for just seven points in the quarter, with the Cougars' lone bucket coming from Davidson.
Vasquez finished the game with a team-high 10 points to go along with two steals and two assists.
Ventura had seven points and two steals, while Herinckx added six points and three steals.
Hanson led the team with six rebounds and two blocks.
Herinckx led the team with nine points in the loss to Colton (8-9, 3-3), a game in which the Cougars led 18-11 at halftime.
But Colton had a rally of its own in the second half, concluding with a 13-point fourth quarter.
With the first half of the conference schedule in the books, Gervais (11-6, 3-3) sits in a three-way tie for third place with Colton and Jefferson (13-5, 3-3).
The three teams each have one win and one loss against each other, with Gervais claiming a 40-38 victory over the Lions the week before.
The Cougars were scheduled to begin the second half of their league schedule on Tuesday against Scio (3-13, 1-5), followed by a home contest against Chemawa (4-9, 0-6) to close out the week.