Senior Izzy Flores sank seven threes and scored a game high 28 points to lead visiting San Marcos to a wire-to-wire, 56-39, victory over Carlsbad Friday night. The outcome lifted San Marcos to 11-7 overall and 2-0 in Avocado West League play, tied for first place with Mission Hills. Carlsbad slipped to 15-4 and 1-1.
The night started slowly and turned into an exercise in frustration for the host Lancers. In the first quarter they made just one field goal and scored five points, setting a tone from which they were never able to recover. San Marcos built its biggest lead at 47-25 in the third quarter and defensively never allowed Carlsbad to make a serious run.
“I was a little bit surprised at the way things played out but getting Megan Roberts back was a game changer,” said Head Coach DiCarlo, referencing the fact that the 6-1 Roberts had missed the last three contests. “With her size in the middle, I felt our defense could handle them and we did.”
While Roberts put in eight points and was a force in the paint, it was Flores that truly put the hurt on Carlsbad. The 5-8 guard is averaging 16.6 points per game after accounting for just under eight per outing last year. She knocked down two threes in each of the first three quarters with several coming at opportune moments when it seemed like the home team might be gathering some momentum.
“Scoring just kind of comes naturally and I always try to do whatever I need to for the team,” said Flores, a four-year starter for the Knights. “I’ve had to do different things throughout my career at San Marcos so I’m used to adapting to change.”
DiCarlo called his standout’s stellar performance “a quiet 28” because it fit so seamlessly into the team’s offense scheme. “We ran a lot of screen action to keep them guessing, were able to get the match-ups we wanted and take advantage of that,” he said. “Izzy’s whole season has been impressive but she’s really been amazing these last few games.
“We’re still a young group as far as playing big games. I’m just impressed with the maturity we showed and how they grew up tonight in a tough environment, in front of a bigger crowd, in a league game with a team that definitely wanted to beat us.” Junior Makenna Tootikian added 10 points for San Marcos.
Shooting was a primary issue for Carlsbad. A fast-paced, three-point shooting outfit that likes to impose its will on opponents, the Lancers never got untracked. With freshman guard Madison Huhn, already the school record holder for threes in a season, nursing an injury to her shooting hand, there were definitely some question marks coming in and the Lancers proved to be a team that needs to be operating on all cylinders to be successful.
Huhn had only one three and as a team, Carlsbad managed just one in the first half and four for the game. After watching perhaps the worst possible scenario play out, Head Coach Donna Huhn (Madison’s mother) was frustrated but not overreacting to the outcome.
“We just could never get in the groove offensively,” she said. “We couldn’t control the tempo at all and could never get out in transition—when you take that away, we have a hard time.
“Their 2-3 zone was tough but we had so many open shots, we just didn’t make them. They caught us on a bad night and they had a great night. Izzy was on fire, you’ve got to give it to her. We’ll be back.”
Fast-improving 6-1 post Renza Miller racked up 12 points, six from the free throw line, to lead the Lancers. Sophomore point guard Alexa Mikeska produced eight, all in the second half.
With the result, San Marcos appears to have thrown its hat in the ring as a legitimate threat in the Avo West race. DiCarlo, who saw a promising season go up in smoke with injuries last winter, wasn’t necessarily ready to go that far.
“Our defense can play with a lot of teams,” Di Carlo said. “It’s a question of how well we can handle pressure and whether or not we can put enough points on the board to beat teams like Mission Hills and La Costa Canyon—I don’t know the answer to that yet.”