By Ryan Owens, Online Sports Editor
// The women’s basketball team fought to the bitter end Friday night, but could not outlast visiting Redwood in the second round of the North Coast Section (NCS) playoffs.
For Acalanes fans, this game was deja vu, as the Lady Dons fell to Redwood in the same game last season in an overtime thriller.
The Lady Dons raced out to a 12-8 lead after one quarter thanks to dominant post play from junior Grace Gebhart and all around stout Acalanes defense.
The lead grew to nine early in the second after senior Kaylee Pond drilled a three pointer and Gebhart finished a driving layup. But the Giants from Larkspur would not fold, shooting their way back into the contest and knotting the teams up at 27 by halftime.
Gebhart came out of the locker room with something to prove, scoring the first four points of the second half thanks to some sweet moves down low. The evenly matched teams traded baskets for most of the quarter, until Redwood found their groove offensively and held a 47-41 advantage entering the final period.
The Giants did their best to put the Lady Dons away in the 4th, but Gebhart scored Acalanes’ first nine points of the quarter to stay within striking distance. The Giants had no answer for the junior center, who finished with 27 points.
“Grace was great. Redwood could not stop her post game, and she dominated the boards and protected the rim,” senior Lauren Kobashigawa said.
With under two minutes to play, a pair of Kobashigawa free throws tied the game at 53.
Redwood answered with a three, but Kobashigawa added another free throw to cut the lead to two. After a Lady Dons stop and timeout, Pond drove to the basket and tied the game, much to the delight of the home crowd.
After two stops in the final minute, Acalanes had one final chance in regulation to win, but a shot at the buzzer fell short, sending the contest to overtime, which was quite fitting given what transpired last year.
Despite a valiant effort from all five seniors, Redwood caught fire from beyond the arc and sank key free throws in overtime to seal the victory 74-64.
The Lady Dons ended the season with an outstanding 21-7 record, including a second consecutive undefeated run through the Diablo Athletic League (DAL).
Although the excellent season came to an abrupt end, Kobashigawa was nothing but positive when reflecting on her career.
“I wouldn’t trade the past four years for anything. I’ve met some of my best friends and had unforgettable moments from being on the team and my high school experience wouldn’t have been the same without it,” she said.