Before the season, Wilson girls’ basketball coach Erin Carey said one of her team’s big goals was to knock off Millikan for the second seed in the Moore League. The Bruins did just that on Wednesday evening in a game they controlled almost from the tip–but as a sign of how far the Wilson program has come under Carey, she wasn’t satisfied with the 63-51 victory.
Carey huddled with her assistant coaches after the game for an impassioned huddle where their frustration was visible.
“I mean, you know me well enough to know I don’t settle,” she said. “A win’s a win, whether it’s ugly or not, I’ll take it. But this wasn’t Wilson basketball by any means.”
Carey’s frustration stemmed from her Bruins not following their defensive scout, which called for a gameplan taking advantage of Wilson’s athleticism and speed advantage in the post, as well as sound rebounding to take Millikan’s bigs out of the game.
“We didn’t execute our gameplan, we didn’t follow through on the things we worked on in practice,” said Carey. “I’m a little frustrated with our follow through.”
Coach’s frustrations aside, it was an impressive win for a Wilson program that has been wanting to get over on the Rams for a while. Carey said before the season that her team had been stuck in third place for too long, and was ready to move up. The team came out energized and took a 17-9 lead after the first quarter, and led 32-21 at halftime. The Bruins did a great job of keeping Millikan from getting the momentum back, as almost every Rams 3-pointer was answered immediately. In the second and third quarters, Wilson gave up consecutive buckets just once.
Meanwhile, senior leader Ashley Hawkins filled it up with 23 points, and was a key playmaker all over the court for the Bruins, with blocks, steals, rebounds and some key assists.
“I feel like I try to be the glue to the team,” said Hawkins. “I can go out and get a bucket, then I can go and get someone else a bucket, I like to be everywhere.”
The Rams trailed 47-33 after three quarters but were able to put up 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Wilson got 10 points from Arielle Hines and nine from Liliana Triassi. Millikan’s big Allison Crawford (19 points) and Siyanda Salter (7 points) were impressive, but the Rams got great guard play from Kylee Ishibashi (11 points), who was always looking for a way to get the ball into Crawford and Salter.
The Bruins hit five 3-pointers in the first half to help build their lead, with Hawkins and Sydney Ross each making a pair, and Triassi chipping in with one as well.
The win for Wilson sets up a highly-anticipated matchup between the Bruins and perennial champion Long Beach Poly this Friday at 5 p.m., at Poly. Carey said before the season that her goal was to knock off Millikan for the two-spot in the standings and then to give Poly a run for their money. The Bruins coach and her players echoed that segment on Wednesday.
“If we play Wilson basketball and execute our gameplan, it’s gonna be a ballgame,” said Carey.
“I’m so excited, and I know the whole team is so excited,” said Hawkins. “We’re ready for that game, we’ve been looking forward to that game. I’m fired up.”