Through the team’s first nine games—in which it went 6-3—the Live Oak High girls basketball team went 0-3 against A-league teams and a perfect 6-0 against B-league squads. Acorns coach Mike Kiefer set up a tough schedule, knowing it would prime the team for future success.
“Playing against A-league teams with their speed, size and physicality, a game like this is going to benefit us in the long run,” Acorns coach Mike Kiefer said after a 47-41 home loss to Silver Creek on Dec. 13. “I thought the girls played exceptionally well against Silver Creek. They battled for four quarters and they made Silver Creek earn it. I think we’re going to grow from this game.”
Adrianne Gomez and Raegan Kirk led the Acorns with 15 and 11, points, respectively, and senior forward Anabela Stewart had six points. The game might have had a different outcome had Live Oak not had a horrible night from the free throw line. The Acorns finished 9 for 24 (37.5 percent) from the charity stripe, all but dooming their chances to score a comeback victory.
“In the two games we’ve lost, free throws have killed us,” Kiefer said. “It’s something we’ve been working on and something we need to fix going forward. Hopefully, we can reach that as a long-term goal by the time league play starts.”
Two days after the Silver Creek contest, Live Oak lost to Sequoia of Redwood City, 59-32. Sequoia plays in the A-division of the Peninsula Athletic League. Kiefer preaches team basketball, and the Acorns play as one unit. However, they’ll regularly need big games from Gomez and Kirk, who are the team’s lone pure scorers who can create their own shot.
“Both Adrianne and Raegan are exceptional players and excel in playing team basketball,” Kiefer said. “One of the things we’re trying to promote is if we can’t do it together, then we’ll have no success. Adrianne and Raegan know when it’s time to look for their shot and take over, but they also know when it’s time to feed their teammates.”
Kirk produced a nifty, spinning runner in the lane after coming up with a steal for the team’s first points in the second half. Gomez hit two 3-pointers, while Kirk and Isabella Corona connected on one shot each from beyond the arc. Alexandra Jaramillo, a junior guard, has potential and made a couple of strong drives to the basket against Silver Creek.
Stewart plays tough inside and will be counted upon to control the glass and limit the opposing team’s offensive rebounding production. Silver Creek was simply too long and tall for Live Oak, hammering the Acorns on the boards to the tune of 21—count ‘em, 21—offensive rebounds.
Despite a tough outing on the free throw line and rebounding, Live Oak displayed plenty of resiliency in making Silver Creek sweat to the very end. The Acorns trailed 37-23 with 1 minute, 1 second left in the third quarter before going on a 18-7 run to whittle its deficit to three points, 44-41, with 1:33 remaining. But that’s as close as they would get.
Silver Creek committed a turnover only to see Live Oak give the ball right back. After a Silver Creek miss, the Acorns had another chance to either tie the game or get closer on the ensuing possession. However, Silver Creek’s Leilani Augmon produced a steal and went in for a layup for two of her 16 points.
“The speed of playing the A-league is different,” Kiefer said. “Right now we’ve been able to hang (and beat) the B-league teams. Playing Silver Creek in a battle like this shows the girls they can play with anyone.”