Going up against a talented Granada Hills Charter High School team that returns multiple players from last year’s CIF- Los Angeles City Section Open Division runner-up team, Canyon girls basketball had its hands full on the road on Tuesday.
Jumping out to a 20-4 lead after the first quarter, the Highlanders came out firing, hitting shots from beyond the arc as well as getting in the paint for some easy put-back layups.
“Boxing out,” said Canyon coach Jessica Haayer. “I think they had triple our rebounds compared to us so they got a lot of opportunities and I think they shot over 50 percent. Just second-chance opportunities, when you don’t come ready to bang, you pay for it and it showed in the first.”
Falling behind early, the Cowboys were never able to recover and fell 68-23 for their first loss of the season.
Canyon (1-1 overall) was without its starting point guard Ellie Villavicencio, and it was evident. Time after time bringing the ball up the court the Cowboys picked up their dribble, allowing Granada Hills (2-0) to trap or apply pressure, resulting in a Canyon turnover.
Finding it difficult to set up their offense, the Cowboys kept forcing up shots at the end of the shot clock often resulting in a Highlanders rebound.
“Just the score,” Haayer said. “I think that Ellie has the biggest scoring mentality on our team and I think that desire to score was lacking tonight because they were so physical.”
Julia Fung led Canyon with seven points and Chidinma Okafor added five points on the night.
The Cowboys drop their first game of the season, but will have ample time to regroup over the Thanksgiving break as they prepare to take on Birmingham at the Brentwood Invitational on Monday.
“We have a lot to work on,” Haayer said. “We are super young, missing our starting point guard tonight and we just have a lot to work on. Granada is a good team and you have to come out and play, they are a good program.
“We had a great squad last year and we barely came out with that win. We just don’t have enough experience and hopefully we learn from this and we get better.”