Bearcats win on senior night


PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Bearcats girls basketball team hosted their final home game of the season on Friday night, which means one thing, senior night. The Bearcats came out wearing their white jersey with all their seniors inserted into their starting lineup with Kimberly Buchanan, Kayla Hernandez, Julia Nunez, Chelcy Salvador and Jayden Loewen on the floor and defeated the Knights, 50-39.

Driven by the crowd that came to send off their seniors, the ’Cats jumped out to an early lead and continued to build on it once the starters began subbing in. Early in the second quarter, Paso Robles built a 13-point lead, 18-5.

“It was amazing,” Buchanan said. “We actually haven’t had all the seniors in at one time before so it was really nice to have them all in.”

For the first quarter and a half, Paso Robles was firing on all cylinders playing with extreme energy and coming up with all the 50/50 balls. Hernandez found herself on the floor multiple times taking two charges and diving for a loose ball.

“They did a good job,” PRHS head coach Lonzo Davis said. “The seniors know, they have been in the program now, with me, for two years kind of running the same offense and stuff so they know the offense and were able to jump out to a quick start.”

After jumping out to a big lead, the Bearcats went cold from the field and didn't score another basket for five straight minutes and the Knights climbed their way back into the game.

“We just needed to slow down a little bit and control the ball,” Davis said. “We had a lot of turnovers there and again just slowing down, running the offense and being patient.”

The Bearcats turned it over on three consecutive possessions which turned into seven St. Joseph points and by the halftime buzzer, the Knights were right back in the game only trailing by two points, 20-18.

The Knights took the lead in the early part of the third quarter and looked to grab some of the momentum away from the Bearcats when Buchanan fouled out 50 feet from the basket near the end of the third quarter.

With Buchanan out, it was the Stanko sisters’ turn to take over the game and they did so by hitting a couple clutch three’s and a lay-up to preserve the victory on senior night.

At one point, the Knights brought the game within five points late but the Bearcats immediately responded with two Maizie Ross free throws and the Janiel Stanko dagger from the top of the arc on consecutive possessions to put the game away.

“The girls have been doing a great job this year but the girls have had a hard time closing out games against like Righetti and Arroyo Grande,” Davis noted. “We have had competitive first halves but this game we were able to slow things down and convert some buckets at the end.”

The Bearcat girls ended their season on Tuesday night with a loss to San Luis Obispo, 59-44. Paso Robles finished the season with an 11-17 record, 3-7 in league, and in the No. 5 spot in their first season in the Mountain League. The Arroyo Grande Eagles took first place this season at 9-1 in league while three teams tied above the Bearcats with Righetti, Mission Prep, and San Luis Obispo all finishing with 6-4 league records.

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