LIVERMORE — If you work hard at something, try your best at it and be patient, it will come to you.
All that hard work definitely paid off for the women’s basketball team, collecting their first victory of the season. A moment that they have all been waiting for.
Feb. 1 was an amazing day for the Hawks as they claimed their first win of the season against Gavilan College Rams. “End the Drought!” chants exploded in the room after the game ended. The program’s first victory in 3 years, since Jan. 8, 2020.
The victory came as a result of teamwork, team effort and a will to dominate on either end of the court. The Hawks did just that on Wednesday night, as their team effort showed throughout the whole 40 minutes.
Heading into the game, the Hawks’ closest loss was at Cuesta College on December 3rd, 71-61. They were looking to change that and improve their momentum with each other.
“We wanted to make sure that we emphasized passing the ball. The keys to the game for tonight was us and to pass the ball,” Caleb Theodore, head coach of the Hawks, said.
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Opening tip-off went to the Rams, who are visiting from Santa Clara County. Both teams missed their first shots on their first possessions. A turnover by both teams occurred early in the first quarter.
The Hawks called their first timeout at 5:17 of the first after a 5-6 headstart by the Rams. Coach Caleb Theodore called another timeout three minutes later when the deficit became 7-10.
LPC Monique Cavness, 22, a freshman forward, led the team to a tie with two points and a free throw in the final minutes. The first quarter ended with a 10-10 score.
The second quarter began, and the Hawks struck first as LPC Mi’Ari Garnett, 15, a freshman guard, downed a three-pointer. This was just the beginning of the Hawks flight.
Two minutes later, LPC Ranaye Manu,10, a freshman guard, knocked down a three to double the lead and make it 16-10 Hawks.
A foul was drawn by LPC sophomore guard and forward, Semaj Steen, 33, and she knocked down both free throws to extend their lead to eight points.
“We managed to listen to our coach on every possession. It’s really just eye-checking and listening with your ears as well as playing with your teammates. Coming down the court, noticing that there’s not any open lanes, you have to play with your teammates. Just setting up and resetting when things aren’t working can make a bad shot into a great shot,” Garnett said.
Despite the Rams responding with four points in a row, the Hawks answered back with seven points to keep themselves aloft. They gained a 25-14 lead with less than three minutes to go in the first half.
The Hawks were dominating the Rams on scoring and defense as their opponents could only score six throughout the second quarter. Both teams left the first half to their respective places, but one left feeling good about themselves. The Hawks led the first half 27-16, maintaining their eleven-point lead.
Coming out of the half, the Rams struck the first blows, scoring two baskets for four points. However, that wouldn’t stop the Hawks, as they responded with five points in a row. By the seven-minute mark, the Hawks led 32-20.
“Our talk at Halftime was about staying disciplined and finishing the game. This was a huge game to make sure we do everything right as we continue for the remainder of the season. It’s important we are able to do all the little things and have great attention to detail from start to finish. That was my reminder to them, and they responded well,” Theodore said.
Gavilan scored their first timeout at 4:57, even though they had a 7-6 run heading into it. This occurred a minute after Steen drew a foul and made one of her free throws. The Hawks led 33-23 at the time of the timeout.
Karina Mora, 11, a sophomore guard, drew a foul in the Hawks’ favor and made one of her two awarded baskets to extend the lead. After this came an impressive performance that summarized their defensive efforts.
The Rams got the ball back, but the Hawks were prepared for their shots. Throughout the whole minute after Mora’s free throw, the Hawks kept deflecting the ball out of bounds and blocking every opportunity the Rams had. Four big stops and the Rams couldn’t overcome it for the whole time the clock had a three shining on the minute place.
A dominant and defining minute for the Hawks.
“When we weren’t scoring, we were getting back on defense to try to get a steal, a deflection or to just get past the screens that were happening. There were a lot of screens happening…We were just trying to work defensively once we couldn’t get things to work on offense. We made sure we were persistent, stayed down, sat on defense, moved on screens and kept working as a team,” Garnett said.
The Hawks defensive pressure broke the Rams’ ability to finish their plays. Their passes weren’t always connecting like they were in the first half. The teamwork and aggressiveness of the Hawks worked against their opponents. Las Positas gained back their 13-point lead at the end of the third quarter, finishing it with a score of 41-28.
Throughout the second half, the Rams had several shot clock violations on possessions. After one occurred at 5:47, the Hawks took advantage of the turnover and brought the lead up to 50-35.
Both teams scored six points a piece for the rest of the half. The Hawks had the last possession and waited for the clock to run down from 23 seconds to zero. They start the month of February with a one-in-the-win column.
Cavness led the team with 20 points and 22 rebounds after the four quarters. Manu was right behind her with 15 points.
“It feels like it’s definitely a step in the right direction. We’ve worked for this moment, and it’s relieving. We’re going to use this moment to go on to the next,” Manu said after the game.
“We just have to bring the same energy every time we step on the court. That’s just the key. It’s energy.”
Theodore has long awaited this moment of getting a victory in his inaugural season as head coach.
“We were able to just play together and for each other the entire time. Being able to see our teammates and find them and put the ball where it needs to be for us to be successful tonight. We were able to do that for four quarters, and that was the difference tonight,” Theodore said.
With all the hard work, dedication and emphasis of working together as a unit, it was only a matter of time.
Gibran Beydoun is a freelance writer for the Express. Follow him @Gibran580MSCM.
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