Thursday’s opening round CCS basketball game featuring the undefeated (24-0, 12-0) Santa Clara Bruins against the (15-10, 9-5) Branham Bruins played out as expected. Santa Clara won going away, 59-31, in a rather quiet affair. Quiet, that is, outside of the fireworks display put on by Santa Clara sophomore Kayleigh Watanabe. The 15-year old looked like the girl on fire, dazzling her way to a game-high 20 points. Her performance included impressive fake passes while driving for layups and a nifty, behind-the-back dish to senior teammate Jazalyn Seguritan. The jaw-dropping pass nearly brought the house down as the home crowd rose to their feet hooting and hollering their approval.
“She shocked everyone with her back pass, fake passes and layups,” commented junior Yvonne Delgado after the game. “She surprises us all the time by getting better each day.”
“That’s her signature thing,” noted Bruins Head Coach Deedee Kiyota on Watanabe’s pump fakes. “She picked that up this year, it’s impressive.”
Santa Clara opened the game a bit lethargic with a couple of their three-point attempts going for air balls and both Watanabe and senior Devyn Snyder fouling three-point shooters for Branham.
“We’re known to [start slow], we’re definitely known to do that,” remarked Kiyota on the inconsistent first quarter. “And then lethargic at the start of the third quarter.”
At one point in the third quarter, Branham pulled back within 13 after Santa Clara had been leading by as much as 22 in the first half. The visiting Bruins would get no further though as Santa Clara put the game away early in the fourth quarter. Watanabe’s behind-the-back bounce pass to Seguritan on a fast break helped seal the deal, restoring Santa Clara’s 22-point lead at 49-27.
With the lopsided score and some foul trouble early, the Bruins were able to get some quality rest for their starters and valuable playing time for their bench. Dejah Swanson played most of the first half as starter Katherine Knowles got into some foul trouble. Starters Devyn and Taylor Snyder also got some rest with Bonnie Liu and Yvette Delgado getting some quality playing time as well.
Unfortunately, Santa Clara’s amazing season came to an end with a 50 – 34 loss to Westmont High School on Saturday.