What Deer Valley failed to do this year however, was reach the North Coast Section final game, which would have been good enough to put them in the state tournament. The Wolverines season ended on Wednesday in a 65-39 loss to Carondelet, their second loss to the Cougars this season.
“It hard to win when you can’t make any baskets,” said head coach Mark Anger. “It was a good season; it wasn’t a great season. A great season would have meant a win tonight.”
Deer Valley did hold the first lead of the game at 1-0 when senior forward Kayla Alexander split free throws. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they wouldn’t score again until late in the first quarter. As Carondelet was dealing with its own struggles, it looked for a while like Deer Valley could absorb the cold offensive performance. But the Cougars finished the first quarter strong, opening up a 14-3 lead. The Wolverines never got any closer.
As Anger pointed out, Deer Valley’s lack of scoring was a result of poor shooting. The Wolverines missed 12 free throws alone. Some struggles, particularly in the opening quarter, can be chalked up to bad luck, as several shots appeared good before bouncing away from the hoop. The rest can be attributed to a smothering Carondelet defense that rarely gave Deer Valley shooters much room.
After the first quarter, the Wolverines point total increased every quarter. The problem was that the Cougars matched that trend, scoring 19 points in each of the middle two quarters.
Sophomore guard Sabrea Coleman came off the bench to lead Deer Valley in scoring with 11. Senior guard Raven Fox, bound for Fresno State, was right behind her with 10. Carondelet was paced by senior forward Erica Payne and junior guard Hannah Huffman, each of whom netted 18.
“It’s been good,” said Fox of her time at Deer Valley. “As a freshman, I didn’t have that starting spot, so I worked hard. I got it as a sophomore and continued to work hard.”
The Wolverines will not get a chance for revenge against a Berkeley team that defeated them in the NCS final game in 2008 and 2010. Still, the the Wolverines' run of success can't be dismissed. From the time the current senior class were freshmen through this season, Deer Valley’s record in league play has been 54-2.
The loss to Carondelet was the final game in a Wolverine uniform for seven seniors, including the starting five of Alexander, Fox, Nyaa Davis, Imana Samuels and Darnela Jenkins.
“It ended abruptly,” said Alexander. “We didn’t want it to end so quickly after we came so far, but I think we played hard. I have no regrets.”