Sophomore guard Megan Quain scored a game high 17 points and fourth-ranked (Max Preps) La Costa Canyon out-pointed host San Marcos by 20 in the second half on the way to a 58-38 Avocado West League triumph Tuesday night.
The victory, their fifth straight, improved La Costa Canyon to 17-5 overall and 4-1 in Avocado West League while forging a tie between the two teams atop the standings at the league’s halfway mark. Tenth-ranked San Marcos, which came into the contest undefeated in Avo West play, is now 13-8 on the season and 4-1 in league.
The Mavericks got out to a shaky start, trailing early, but were able to grind their way to an 18-18 halftime deadlock. Second-year Head Coach Caitlin Hoffmann felt fortunate that it wasn’t worse.
“I thought the first half was probably the worst we’ve ever played as a team,” she assessed post-game. We looked like we had not prepared at all—I was disappointed by the number of turnovers we had and the number of mistakes our veteran players were making.”
The second 16 minutes were a different story—you could call it “the Quain Show.” Senior Katie Quain (Megan’s sister) closed out the third quarter with an old-fashion three-point play—a straight-on bank followed by a free throw—to give La Costa its biggest lead to that point, a still-close 35-29. The final period was all Mavs as Megan Quain drained four treys (she had five on the game) and her team methodically pulled away from San Marcos.
The result, impressive even though it was the closest margin in their recent streak, stamped the Mavericks as the favorite to emerge at the pinnacle when league festivities conclude in three weeks. Needless to say, Hoffman enjoyed the second half more than the first.
“We played a phenomenal second half,” said Hoffman. “Every single girl made the adjustments they needed to make and we were a much different team.
“I think the biggest adjustment was getting our guards to take control of the game and just getting everyone to calm down. We let San Marcos dictate the pace in the first half and when we play at their pace that’s not what we want. We’re a quick team but when another team is forcing us to go quick, we’re out of control. In the second half we controlled the tempo and controlled the game.”
Hoffman praised Megan Quain’s late game performance. “That’s what she does,” Hoffman continued. “As a sophomore, she’s somebody we depend on and when she’s hot, she’s really hot.
“She’s been in a little bit of a slump the last few games but tonight we told her we needed her and she responded—she was clutch.” Maverick senior Haley Dumiak knocked down 14 points and bulled her way to a couple of key baskets down the stretch. Senior Lindsay Zientek chalked up eight points and Katie McQuain had seven, all in the second half.
On the other side of the court, senior guard Izzy Flores, perhaps the league’s top player to this point, led the way with 12 points but it was a quiet dozen and she never seemed to be in her normal rhythm. The LCC defense limited San Marcos’s two inside aces, Megan Roberts and Makenna Tootikian to a total of 15 points. The Knights’ Head Coach Roger DiCarlo was afraid of a letdown following last Friday’s big home victory, their first in seven years, over their biggest rival and defending Avo West titleholder Mission Hills. Those fears were well-founded.
“I thought we came out with a lack of energy and just weren’t at our best,” said DiCarlo. “Give credit to LCC, though. They came out hard, made their shots, out-hustled us, out-worked us and in most instances tonight simply out-played us.”
Avocado West play resumes Friday night. La Costa Canyon travels to Mission Hills for a showdown that has major championship implications while San Marcos travels to last place Canyon Crest.