How often does a basketball team trailing at halftime go on to outscore its opponents by 27 points in the second half?
It's happened at least onc.
Boulder Creek trailed district rival Mountain Ridge 25-23 at the break Feb. 4. The visiting Jaguars pounced, starting the second half with 11 straight points, and did not let up en route to a 69-44 rout.
"The adjustment was, we needed to be more aggressive defensively and that was going to create our offense. And I told them we needed to push the ball as hard as we can," Boulder Creek coach Jamie Manning said. "Manily we talked about how our defense creates our offense."
When Boulder Creek (16-10 overall, 10-6 regular season) was not getting buckets in transition, senior guard Marlee Johnson created the offense.
Johnson scored 16 of her game-high 22 points after the break, and also led her team with 13 rebounds and five steals. Her six assists were one less than the total of the other Boulder Creek starting senior, guard Dani Beebe.
"Marlee is great at getting everybody on the same page. I did get on her a little bit at halftime because I wanted more out of her," Manning said. "We're missing some bodies because of injuries so it's time for everyone to step up their game."
Meanwhile Mountain Ridge coach Jaime Carreon was left to lament another occasion where his team (14-9, 7-9) did not step up its game for the whole game.
The Mountain Lions started senior night well, leading 12-8 after a quarter. Senior Jordan Kress hit three treys in the first half and junior wing Arielle Parker chipped in seven points.
Within three minutes it fell apart.
"I don't know how many times I've gone home to my wife and said, 'We had it and we let it go,'" Carreon said. "I was telling my coaches after the game that I'm at a little bit of a loss. I've been doing this for 20 years and I'm at a loss at how it's been the same recipe. We're right there and then it falls away for whatever reason."
After halftime the home team managed 19 points. Ten of those came from freshman Janae Floyd, who wound up the only Mountain Lion in double figures with 11.
The Jaguars finished with 15 offensive rebounds and 15 assists on 23 made field goals.
"They got offensive rebounds like they were growing on trees. They made it look really easy and we didn't make it hard for them," Carreon said. "The turnaround in the second half was ridiculous. They're a solid team and Jamie does a great job with them. They ran their plays beautifully and flat out wanted it more than we did."
Other than Johnson and Beebe, Boulder Creek is chock full of young talent. And the team from Anthem needs all the kids to show up after junior point guard Kayla Clark suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.
Freshman guard Madelynn Muniz poured in 15 points against Mountain Ridge, and freshman forward Kaitlyn Beall added nine points and seven rebounds.
The younger players helped the Jaguars stay competitive in the loaded Desert Valley Region. Boulder Creek is ranked #13 in 6A, just behind Scottsdale Chaparral (#12) and further back from powers Pinnacle (#2) and O'Connor (#5).
"My actual point guard is out for the season and to be honest, we've suffered injury after injury throughout the season. I never thought we'd be where we are in the rankings because we probably are the youngest team out here," Manning said. "I am very impressed but we're not through. I love that we're in this conference. I want them to compete and it is going to help us in the playoffs."