"It was just one of those games where we were asleep to start," Jonas said. "It's hard to explain."
If an 18-1 deficit can lead to mental misery, an 18-1 lead can lead to mental lapses. Just ask winning coach John Moglia, whose team didn't gain a single advantage in the remaining three quarters, in which the Falcons and Panthers split 70 points down the middle.
"We definitely got a little complacent," Moglia said. "But give Freedom credit. They
never gave up and did some very good things the final three quarters."
Both teams had positives to draw from, but Antioch had one very large one in 6-foot 1-inch junior center Shelby Secor, who once again was the big difference.
Secor, who averages 22 points per game with a season best of 37, scored 21 points against Freedom in limited action. Tatjana Pitts, a 5-8 sophomore, added 10 points for the winners, while quick 5-3 point guard Erica Beverly contributed six points and seven assists.
"She (Beverly) is very impressive," Jonas said. "She has some very good moves and is hard to press."
Said Moglia, "We call her the human press-breaker."
Freedom, which got a team-high 14 points from 5-5 senior Kim Kicenski and 10 from 5-3 sophomore Karena Trice, was done in by Antioch's press early. The Falcons committed most of their 22 turnovers in the crucial first half. Kicenski tried to keep Freedom (5-12 overall, 0-6 BVAL) in the game by drilling four three-pointers. Aubrey Linder, a 6-foot junior post, also did a good job down low with 10 rebounds.
But the Falcons, missing leading scorer Ashley Resendez for the sixth straight game, simply couldn't overcome the tortoise-slow start. Resendez, who might have come back too quickly from a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury in her knee that occurred last year, is expected back toward the end of the season.
"We definitely did a lot of good things," Jonas said. "But we're such a young team (five sophomores, two seniors), and without Ashley, were really struggling. Her 14 to 16 points a night, plus her defense and rebounding, would make a big difference."
Secor and Beverly made a big difference the following night, augmented by strong play from 5-10 senior Christina Washington. But Antioch (7-10, 2-5) dropped a 50-47 heartbreaker at Ygnacio Valley. Secor drilled three of the game's 14 three-pointers en route to a game-high 25 points, while Beverly also made three three-pointers and finished with 17.
"(Secor) is the real deal," Moglia said. "She's not only a big inside presence but as she showed against Ygnacio Valley she can step out and hit from the perimeter. Many colleges are already looking at her."
Freedom hosts Heritage tonight, travels to Clayton Valley on Tuesday and hosts Carondelet on Thursday. Antioch hosts Clayton Valley tonight and plays at Carondelet on Tuesday before hosting Liberty on Thursday.