LANCASTER — Entering its game against Mojave, the Desert Christian girls basketball team had suffered a three-game losing streak and had lost seven of its last eight games.
The Knights, however, snapped out of their slump in a major way as Cambria Parker finished with a game-high 20 points to help her team get back to .500 in the Desert Mountain League with a convincing 43-17 victory over the Mustangs, Friday evening at Desert Christian High School.
Parker fueled Desert Christian’s first run to open the game by scoring the first seven points to help build a 7-0 lead. That would be the Knights’ only points of the first quarter but defensively they held Mojave to only two points, those coming at 1:27 remaining in the quarter by Gwen Moody.
“I think we had good communication on the court and we moved the ball well. We went all out and gave it our all,” Knights guard Maddie Nasser said. “We need a certain number of wins to reach the playoffs and this was a good victory for us. I think we have a really good chance (at making playoffs). There are always points of improvement for us.”
Desert Christian (4-9, 1-1) despite only leading by five after the first quarter, slowly began to separate itself in the second quarter. A rebound and put back by Nasser helped Desert Christian maintain a 10-point lead, 14-4.
Once again, the defense only allowed two points for the quarter and scored nine more of their own to take a 16-4 lead into halftime. The Knights’ defense forced Mojave (0-4, 0-1) into 21 turnovers for the game.
“This was a good game, but we still have a lot to work on. They (Desert Christian) were a very good team,” said Mojave’s Deonce Anderson, who led her team with nine points. “We definitely need to work on our ball handling. Over time we can improve, it just takes practice. I think we got more comfortable in the second half.”
The Mustangs played much better in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter as they nearly doubled their scoring output from the previous three quarters. But as they got better, so did the Knights.
Nasser (10 points) provided the first basket of the third quarter, a 3-pointer which gave her team a 19-4 lead. It extended the lead to 21-4 following a rebound and score from Parker. Desert Christian’s Sivour Lim converted a two, which gave the Knights their largest lead of the game at the time, 26-6, right before the end of the third quarter.
“Overall I thought the girls played well. In the first half they didn’t execute the plays and they didn’t translate what we do in practice to the game,” Desert Christian co-coach Tom Nasser said. “I didn’t like our energy in the first half. But I thought we executed better in the second half and I loved the way we responded. Our team defense is very important as we are a smaller team.”
The Mustangs played in only their fourth game of the season and of their 10 players, six are freshmen, two sophomores, one junior and one senior. Both head coach Debbie Moore and the players are optimistic about the future.
“We’re teaching them to compete. We have a team that doesn’t give up and tonight they fought until the end,” Moore said. “We know this is a building year for us and I’m seeing a lot of positives out there. They are trying really hard to work together as a team and we know the things we need to work on.”