It was Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Santa Clara High School on Friday, and in fitting fashion the Bruins overcame first-half struggles to earn a 42-31 victory. Santa Clara’s varsity girls basketball team took the court with pink warm-up uniforms and played with pink armbands and pink shoe laces in support of breast cancer research. While the overall team performance wasn’t where Head Coach Deedee Kiyota hoped it would be, the Bruins found a way to remain undefeated, improving to 14-0.
“Very upsetting I guess you could say,” remarked the head coach about her team’s performance. “I didn’t think we played very well, not up to our potential at least.”
Coach Kiyota remarked that she was wary of her team having a letdown after playing in an incredibly competitive game (one-point win, 37-36) just two days earlier against Cupertino.
“I’m very superstitious, I had Friday the 13th in the back of my head for one, and then we had a really exciting game on Wednesday and a lot of the coaches I know kept telling me to watch out for a deflated effort. So maybe that is kind of what happened to us tonight.”
In the first quarter the Bruins started out strong, going up 10-3 on multiple fast-break points with sophomore Kayleigh Watanabe wide open for easy layups. Santa Clara would take a 14-9 lead into the second quarter, but that’s where the offense dried up. The Bruins would score only three points in the second frame. Senior Devyn Snyder, normally one of Santa Clara’s sharp shooter’s, struggled from the floor.
“I just know that there’s a way around it,” commented Snyder on her mental thought process when the shots aren’t falling. “If I have a wide open shot, I’ll take it, but my four other teammates are pretty good players, so I can get them the ball.”
One of those pretty good teammates is Devyn’s twin sister Taylor, who particularly impressed on the defensive side with two tremendous blocks. Is that something the sisters have done to each other over the years?
“Yeah, we would do one-on-one a lot,” commented Devyn Snyder with a chuckle and wry smile. “It got me knowing exactly when she would block the ball. So now I know exactly when she is going to hit it out of an opponent’s hands.”
Thanks in part to Taylor Snyder’s blocks and a team-wide effort defensively, the Bruins did manage to carry a one-point lead into halftime at 17-16 despite the disappointing second quarter.
Santa Clara would never completely find their groove in this game, but their third quarter offensive surge was enough to finally get some separation on the scoreboard. Forward Katherine Knowles chipped in with a quick six points in her customary spot in the paint and Watanabe added a couple of baskets while being fouled and earning and-one opportunities.
That would be enough for the Bruins to take a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter. Lynbrook would come to within eight points with a couple minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as they would get.
On this special occasion, Santa Clara’s JV Head Coach Nicole Lomeli was nice enough to share some of her personal thoughts after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago (she’s now cancer free).
“That fear [is tough]. If she has it, then who else in my family is going to have it, am I gonna have it?” recalled Lomeli on her personal struggles. “Dealing with that was probably one of the scariest things for me. That said, it was easier for me because I had so many people around me who were constantly coming by, like Deedee. She was there pretty much everyday at the hospital with me. It didn’t seem as hard, knowing that they were there for me. I think it helped a lot with my mom too.”
So what does this Breast Cancer Awareness night mean to you?
“It means a lot to me just knowing that other people are there for you,” added Lomeli. “Bringing awareness to it is awesome. My mom doesn’t come to a lot of my games because they are too early, but for breast cancer she tries to make a point to come, to tell everybody to support and donate.”