Less than a week after going 0-for-13 from the field in a 49-41 loss to Chowchilla High in the Central Section Division V championship game at Selland Arena, Firebaugh High junior power forward re-discovered her mojo Tuesday night.
So did the rest of her teammates.
Allen poured in 20 points (she scored 2 points in the section final) while teammate Mirayhan Gonzales matched her with 20 points to pace Firebaugh to a 72-54 Southern Section first-round playoff win against visiting Garey High of Pomona.
“Yes, we found redemption,” said Firebaugh High head coach Betty Carmona after her team improved to 23-9.
The reason between the loss to Chowchilla, which broke a 10-game winning streak, was having the home court advantage, said Carmona.
“Our girls are comfortable back at home,” said Carmona, who watched Firebaugh build a 23-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and hold a 38-29 half-time lead.
Even when Garey, which finished its season at 19-9, closed the gap to within three early in the third quarter, Carmona and Firebaugh didn’t panick.
“This was a reminder of how to play our ball,” said Carmona.
Allen, who averaged 14.1 points during the season, was still thinking about last Friday’s game earlier in the day.
“We didn’t play our best game” against Chowchilla, said Allen, who scored a dozen points by halftime and sat out a large chunk of the fourth quarter. “Every game is a new game. We shook off the last game.”
Allen said Selland Arena’s size, with stands behind the baskets, provided a depth perception problem that bothered her shooting.
She enjoyed the packed home court on Tuesday evening.
“With a team like this, it’s pretty easy to get into our rhythm,” said Allen. “We can make anything happen.”
Teammate Lexi Félix took only five shots and made four of them, but they were all three-pointers at crucial times. Two of them were back-to-back that allowed the home team to extend a 46-41 lead to 52-41 with less than three minutes left in the third quarter.
Félix, who prefers volleyball over basketball, is right-handed but learned to shoot left-handed in basketball.
“We were a little more hungry for this game,” said Félix. “Since we lost Valley, we’re redeeming ourselves.”
Félix lamented her missed attempt. “I didn’t get to finish it because the defender was rushing towards me,” she said.
Firebaugh, the eighth seed, will travel to Hanford on Saturday (March 10) for a 6 p.m. second-round game against Sierra Pacific (28-5). The division’s top seed scored a 67-27 win over Reseda High on Tuesday night.