ARVIN — Playing an undefeated team in the first game after the holiday break may not have been high on the wish list for Brittany Smith this week.
The first-year girls basketball head coach at Bakersfield Christian doesn’t seem to be a fan of taking time away from the court a month into the season, no matter the reason.
The Eagles had to play San Luis Obispo (15-0) on the first day of the Arvin Holiday Showcase and fell 37-30 to the Tigers at Arvin High on Thursday.
“I think it’s always hard to play off of Christmas break,” Smith said. “I think you get a little too much of a break there and get a little out of shape. To me, tonight was all about out-hustling. It was two great teams and they out-hustled us. That was the result.”
BCHS senior guard Lanie Jackson, who is averaging nearly 20 points a game, (9-3) was held to just five points but played the role of facilitator early on.
“I think Lanie is a very smart player,” Smith said. “If she’s not on, she knows she’s not and she is going to look for the post players or our other guards. But all in all, everyone else has to pick it up with she’s not doing well.”
It seemed to work early on as the Eagles took a 6-2 lead off two layups by sophomore post player Dami Sule, but the Tigers stormed back with suffocating defense and converted shots inside the paint during a 24-8 run heading into halftime.
“There was a couple of things in there I wish we could have done better,” Smith said about the first half. “But (SLO) played great and deserved it.”
Both teams were held scoreless for the first 4 minutes and 45 seconds of the third quarter before BCHS cut the 12-point halftime deficit to five on 3-pointers from Annie Filkins and Lauren Buetow.
BCHS cut the lead to 33-30 with a minute left in the fourth quarter on two free throws by Jackson, but the Eagles could not retake the lead.
“If they are the best (we have played), then we are pretty good,” Smith said. “I am happy with that.”
BCHS’ only other losses this season have come to No. 7 Hanford and No. 10 Garces while the Eagles continue to look like one of the top teams in Division IV in the Central Section.
SLO, playing its first season in the section after moving over from the Southern Section, is a D-I team like Hanford.
Kayla Craft led the Tigers with 10 points while Anika Meyer added nine and Lily Svetich chipped in with eight.
Addie Schaffer had a game-high 11 points for BCHS and Sule added 10 for the Eagles.