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Morgan Hill
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September 23, 2021

Rams run out of steam against SJ City

Like the rest of her Lady Rams
’ teammates, freshman guard Stacey Perrien was physically
drained when the final buzzer sounded in Friday’s 62-55 home loss
to San Jose City College.
Like the rest of her Lady Rams’ teammates, freshman guard Stacey Perrien was physically drained when the final buzzer sounded in Friday’s 62-55 home loss to San Jose City College.

Perrien (team-high 22 points) had led the Gavilan College women’s basketball team back from the dead in the second half – erasing a seven-point deficit to tie the score at 47-47 with 6:16 left. But there was simply just not enough gas left in the tank of Perrien – whose tired legs resulted in a 2-of-10 stint from the charity stripe down the stretch – as well as her six other teammates – who combined for 4-of-15 shooting from the foul line.

“We played 110 percent for 35 minutes or whatever you want to call it and we’re tired. Stacey’s bent over. Nicole (Donley) can hardly breathe. We’re running five kids for almost 40 minutes and you can’t necessarily sustain that forever, especially with foul trouble,” head coach Michelle Mannisto said. “We were really, really, really tired.

And at the top of the Lady Rams’ fatigue list was Perrien.

“Stacey’s running the point. She’s guarding one of the better players defensively. She’s even boarding a few times,” Mannisto added. “How much can get out of five.”

Mannisto milked just about everything she could out her undermanned unit – riding the starting five and one steady substitute for the entire game. The Lady Rams – who led 34-32 at the break – grew more and more exhausted as the game wore on. And when they needed the fresh legs from the free throw line in crunch-time, they just were not there.

“This is huge for us,” said Mannisto, despite the unfavorable outcome. “Everybody feels pretty good. Even though we had a chance to get on them and we wanted to win, they feel pretty good about themselves. I’m proud of them. Every game we get better.”

Gavilan’s two-point halftime lead quickly dissipated to open the second half, as a rejuvenated San Jose City squad broke out with a 7-0 run to take a 39-34 edge. When sophomore forward Antoinette Bowe scored off a put-back to break the drought, San Jose City came back with back-to-back buckets.

“Initially, the first five minutes of the second half we came out playing not to lose versus playing aggressive and ready to go like we did in the first half,” Mannisto said. “Second half, we had to slack off on the pressure a little bit because we had three kids with four fouls and then lastly and most importantly we were 2-for-13 from the free throw line.”

Actually, the Lady Rams finished 4-of-15 – which included a stretch of six straight misses.

“That’s two Fridays in a row we can’t hit a free throw, but we’re lighting up threes,” said Mannisto, whose shooter hit five shots from beyond the arc. “They can shoot, but we’re mental. We’re tired… If we made our free throws, we had a win.”

But it’s hard to place blame on a squad that leaves everything on the court, and then some.

Just look at Perrien – who stepped up and made some key buckets during a stretch in the second, but could not get it done at the free-throw line.

“She stepped up and carried us, but she couldn’t breathe so she was missing her free throws. She was out of breathe,” Mannisto said. “That’s the first time she showed a strong amount of leadership. She stepped up and competed when we needed it.”

After freshman guard Noreen Bailey (11 points) sank one of her three treys to even the score, San Jose City went on another 7-0 run to pull ahead – while the Lady Rams struggled with their foul shooting.

It wasn’t over yet though, as Gavilan stormed back to within three. But San Jose City finished stronger – going on an 8-4 run to end the night.

“I was surprised. I thought we’d play well and try, but I never expected we’d have a shot at it. We had a shot at taking them out,” said Mannisto, whose squad was close to upsetting a San Jose City team that defeated De Anza the night before. “That tells me we can get with De Anza. We can get with Foothill. We can get with Chabot and San Francisco. We might have a chance to win our conference from what I just saw. So it was a huge building game.”

Gavilan got a 12-point output from freshman Keisha Webster, of Gilroy, an eight-point effort from sophomore Antoinette Bowe, of Gilroy.

The Lady Rams march back into action with a Jan. 22 road game against Mission at 7 p.m. before a Friday night double-header with the men’s squad when they will be hosting Chabot at 5 p.m.

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