HANFORD — Corin Camara’s sharp shooting helped turn a defensive fourth quarter into an offensive juggernaut as Hanford moved past Righetti, 80-65, in a CIF Central Section Division I first-round playoff game on Tuesday.
Camara, a freshman, led the No. 8 seed Bullpups with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and was one of five players to finish in double figures. She hit three of her four 3-pointers in the final stanza with all of them coming from the corners.
“I hit the first one, so then I went back there and I just got it going,” a smiling Camara said after the game.
Kylie Maya finished with 12 points and helped jumpstart a 16-2 scoring run, which put the Bullpups firmly in control of the game.
Hanford led 53-41 to start the fourth quarter and expanded their lead, but No. 9 seed Righetti went on an 8-0 run in exactly 60 seconds to cut a 15-point lead to seven with 4:11 left in the game.
But Maya, a sophomore, came up clutch and converted a three-point play and then hit a 3-pointer seconds later to make it a 13-point game. The Warriors tried answering, but the Bullpups' defense trapped in the half court and closed on passing lanes to force turnovers.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Camara and Tinisha Edwards gave Hanford a 21-point lead (71-57) — their largest of the game — effectively ending Righetti's season.
“If you make threes like that that are momentum stoppers, that seems to really trigger our energy on defense,” Hanford coach Doug Pitkin said. “That was probably the best defensive effort I’ve seen, outside our Redwood game, [at] home.”
Edwards scored 14 points and was a big part of the defensive effort with a team-high eight steals. Hanford compiled 25 steals in all, which was their most in a playoff game since March 12, 2014 when they also had 25 steals in a 53-36 victory over Ventura. Brooke Johnson had a team-high eight steals in that game.
The Warriors scored 24 points in the fourth quarter, but the Bullpups put up 27 of their own.
“We had momentum going and then we started to play as a team and we were kicking it out to the corners and then our guards were starting to drive, so we had it all going for us,” Camara said.
It was a dicey start for Hanford. Righetti raced out to an 8-0 lead in under two minutes and Pitkin immediately called a timeout.
“I just told them it’s not a matter of skill this is a matter of effort,” Pitkin said. “If you give them what they want they’re going to beat us. You have to take what they want and force them into their next best.”
The next best never came for Righetti. Hanford closed the first quarter on a 16-8 run and the two teams were tied 16-16.
After four lead changes, Michaela Young’s layup gave the Bullpups a 30-29 lead with 1:18 left in the second quarter. It was the fifth and final lead change of the game as the Bullpups would never trail again.
Young’s layup was also the start of a 9-0 run to close the half. Young finished with 11 points, eight assists and five steals. Hanford led 37-29 at halftime.
The third quarter featured senior guard Sapphire Jones. She scored eight points in the third, including 11 of her 15 in the second half. She also had a team-high six rebounds and added three steals. Her scoring came at crucial times in the third quarter when Righetti tried to make a run.
“Every time that they made a little run we got more aggressive defensively,” Pitkin said. “I was really proud of these girls. They went after the traps. They went after opportunities.”
Hanford advances to the quarterfinals, but will face No. 1 seed Clovis West (26-3, 9-1 TRAC). The Golden Eagles are ranked No. 7 in the state, but did have their 68-game TRAC winning streak snapped earlier this season.
"It’s going to take composure," Pitkin said. "We’re going to have to play faster, they’re going to have to play composed, we’re going to have to share the ball and we’re going to have to make shots."