East Mountain High School’s girls basketball team never trailed in its Nov. 20 season opener, but it took the Lady Timberwolves turning up the heat in the final quarter to do something they haven’t done in five years—capture a season-opening victory.
With a new skipper at the helm, the Lady T’Wolves came out firing and beat the visiting Monte del Sol Lady Dragons 40-26.
It was the Lady T’Wolves’ first season-opening win since Nov. 18, 2016.
“I think it took us a little while to get into the swing of things—it is our first game—but overall, I think we did really good,” East Mountain senior Kaylee Baker said. She scored a game-high 11 points.
East Mountain opened the game on a 7-0 run, holding Monte del Sol scoreless until the Lady Dragons hit a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left in the frame.
East Mountain freshman Lilly Chavez opened the second quarter with a 3-point shot, and Jessie Leibold closed out the stanza with a fastbreak layup off a Monte del Sol turnover to lift the Lady T’Wolves to a 16-8 lead at halftime.
“All I can say is I’m really proud of my girls, they showed a lot of heart out there today,” East Mountain’s first-year head coach Jeanne Woodfin said.
Monte del Sol cut into East Mountain’s lead midway through the third quarter at 20-16.
But Baker buried a 3-pointer and added a free throw in the final seconds of the frame to keep the Lady T’Wolves ahead 26-21.
In the fourth quarter, Chavez hit her second 3-pointer of the game, Baker added a pair of layups and a free throw, and three different T’Wolves hit putback baskets off offensive rebounds, including Rylee Allen with 3:20 left in the game. Allen grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
“Yeah, it did get a little close [in the third quarter], but in the fourth, the girls started playing the way that I’ve been wanting them to play,” Woodfin said. “I was really proud of the way they played in the fourth.”
Leibold chipped in 8 points for East Mountain, Chavez added 7.
Woodfin is East Mountain’s fifth different girls basketball head coach in the past five seasons. She has helped as an assistant coach on East Mountain’s boys soccer team, but this marks her first varsity head coaching position. “This is my first varsity high school basketball game, period,” Woodfin said, adding, “I love basketball, so this is me doing what I love—this is my sport.”