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Girls’ basketball narrowly loses to Santa Barbara in tight matchup

Aidan Gomez
On Dec. 14, 2023, Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) girls’ basketball faced a heartbreaking loss to Santa Barbara High School (Santa Barbara) with a score of 31-34. In this photo, Janae Dixon ’24 (number 22) and Rihanna Samples ’25 (number 2) jump up trying to secure the rebound for an offensive possession.
Fiona Aulenta

On Dec. 14, 2023, the Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) girls’ basketball team played the Santa Barbara High School Dons (Santa Barbara) at Ventura High School’s (Ventura) Tuttle gym. Throughout the game the competition was dead even, but Santa Barbara was able to narrowly come out on top with a final score of 31-34.

Head coach Chuck Ferris spoke on his expectations coming into the game, “We were down to seven players … we knew everybody was going to play a critical role throughout the entire game.”

Though Foothill Tech won the tipoff, Santa Barbara was the first to get a lay-up in the basket. Foothill Tech responded quickly with a 3-pointer, made by Olivia Mowad ‘24.

Following a steal from Mowad, the ball was passed to Petra Falcocchia ‘24 who floated the ball into the net. Falcocchia built off this point as she scored three more times while Santa Barbara only scored once, which widened the Dragon’s lead to a score of 11-4.

Janae Dixon ’24 (number 22) secures the long defensive rebound and attempts to drive up the court to find her teammates for the pass and score. (Aidan Gomez)

As the first quarter was drawing to a close, Santa Barbara was able to make a 3-pointer. But with the timer ticking down, Mowad made a mid-range shot to end the quarter with a score of 13-7.

The second quarter began with Mowad drawing a foul and scoring one of her free throws. Following this, Santa Barbara made two baskets in a row to shrink the gap, 14-11. Foothill Tech responded in a similar manner, as they scored two baskets as well, made by Mowad and Falcocchia. Santa Barbara went on another scoring streak and despite a shot made by Mowad, the score narrowed to a mere three point gap, 20-17.

In the third quarter, the fire within the Dragon offense seemed to get extinguished. Lauren Kaller ‘25 made the only point for Foothill Tech in the eight minutes of the quarter. Santa Barbara jumped on their opportunity as they slowly surpassed the Dragons on the scoreboard. By the end of the quarter, Santa Barbara had attained a lead of four points, 22-26.

But in the final quarter, the fire within the Dragons reignited as they fought to close the gap. Following a point by Santa Barbara, Mowad was able to evade defenders and make a shot. After a defensive block by Falcocchia, Alexa Taylor ‘24 received the ball and scored to close the gap even further, 26-28.

Alexa Taylor ’24 (number 11) aggressively posts up her opponent, trying to seal her in the high post to receive a pass and drive into the key to score. (Aidan Gomez)

Santa Barbara scored back-to-back points, including a successful free throw after they drew a foul, expanding their lead to 26-33. Falcocchia responded to this with a floater into Santa Barbara’s net. Little time remained as the intensity of the match increased, and a timeout was called by Santa Barbara. Following this, the Dons’ drew a foul and made one point. Mowad gave the Dragons hope as she drained a 3-pointer to close the gap to only three points, 31-34.

With less than a minute remaining, Santa Barbara committed a travel violation, giving Foothill Tech one final opportunity to tie the game by gaining possession with five seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately, the ball was stolen by Santa Barbara’s tight defense and the buzzer sounded the end of a hard fought game with a final score of 31-34.

Falcocchia reflected on the game as the team’s performance, “our plays worked … we just needed to have a little bit more intensity.”

Despite being down seven players, Coach Ferris was proud of their efforts, “they rose to the occasion … I couldn’t have asked for more out of this team.”

Foothill Tech’s next competition will be a four day tournament starting on Dec. 26, 2023, at Santa Clara High School.

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About the Contributors
Conor White
Conor White, Reporter
Aka Sonia. A first-year sports writer who is a runner by choice and loves eating and sleeping.
Fiona Aulenta
Fiona Aulenta, Videographer
“I make bad decisions frequently. They're fun.” - SZA
Aidan Gomez
Aidan Gomez, Photographer
Second-year journalist and athlete who loves to hang out with friends.

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