The Wilson Bruins girls’ basketball team was all smiles on Wednesday. The defending CIF-SS Division 3 champions looked sharp and clearly enjoyed their 2021 season opening win over visiting Lakewood 86-13.
“It’s amazing, I’m so glad to be back in here,” said guard Ashley Hawkins, who scored a game-high 19 points. “I was watching film of (the game against Lakewood) last year and I just wanted to play already. I was so excited.”
Hawkins was one of five Bruins to score in double figures. Fellow senior Arielle Hines scored 16 points, junior Liliana Triassi chipped in 13 points and junior Letitia Kariuki had 12. Sophomore Laurin Tiangco came off the bench to score 10.
“That’s how we’re going to be this year, thankfully,” Wilson coach Erin Carey said of the balanced scoring. “We’re really firing from every cylinder and it’s going to be fun… It’s awesome (to be back) and to have as many seniors as we do, I can’t even put words on it.”
Wilson opened the game in a full court press and quickly took a 20-0 lead thanks to a bunch of steals and run-out layups. The Bruins led 34-4 at the end of the first quarter, and 60-5 at halftime.
“We knew parents weren’t going to be in here and we used to have cheerleaders and all that would help us with energy,” Hawkins said. “We really wanted to bring that energy ourselves because we knew that would help us a lot with just making baskets.”
Lakewood struggled against the aggressive Wilson defense while junior Samaria Usher scored a team-high six points.
Despite the blowout Carey still saw room for improvement.
“For us it’s getting prepared for the more competitive games against Millikan and Long Beach Poly so it’s fine tuning stuff,” Carey said. “We still didn’t box out well, defensively we still have work to do, completing offensive plays… If we can’t do that here we’re going to be in trouble when the clutch games happen.”
Hawkins said her team is excited for that challenge.
“I don’t think it makes us play any differently,” Hawkins said of being a CIF champion. “It is cool having a ring, though.”
Wilson plays Millikan on April 28 and Poly on April 30. Lakewood hosts Compton on Friday.