The frustration was evident by the Carondelet High basketball players. Makenzie Cast showed it after missing two 3-point shots, her body slumping for an instant before getting back on defense.
Thanks to solid perimeter defense, St. Mary's earned a 78-71 win Saturday at the Corner Bakery Showdown at Bentley School.
St. Mary's helped to limit Carondelet to just 11-of-37 shooting from 3-point range. Cougars point guard Natalie Romeo made just 1 of 10, and the normally reliable Cast made just 5 of 16 -- with three of those makes coming in the third quarter.
"They're a really good shooting team," St. Mary's forward Mikayla Cowling said. "You've got to get tough, get in their face, stay down low so they couldn't go by us."
Added St. Mary's coach Nate Fripp, "We wanted to limit -- key word 'limit' -- their threes. We tried to limit their touches and limit their good looks."
The Panthers (15-5) broke a three-game losing streak -- although the quality of the competition was high. St. Mary's lost to Salesian, Windward-Los Angeles and Etiwanda.
Cowling was all over the court, scoring 23 points (on 11-of-16 shooting) and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Among Cowling, all-everything Gabby Green, Taylor Berry and Ma'Ane Mosley, Fripp got contributions from all over. Green tallied 16 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
Mosley came off the bench to score 18 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists. Berry added 11 points.
The Cougars (14-3) never led after the early moments of the second quarter. Cast finished with 19 points, and Romeo added 16.
Carondelet never got into any consistent rhythm, but the bigger concern to coach Margaret Gartner was the hangover at the other end of the court.
"Sometimes at 16 when you don't make those shots you don't play defense," she said. "Or you have to remind them."
Pittsburg 4, Newark Memorial 0: In a matchup of teams in the top three in the Bay Area News Group East Bay rankings, the host Pirates made their claim for the No. 1 spot with a convincing win over the third-ranked Cougars.
Pittsburg (13-1-1), which is ranked second, had the lion's share of the possession and showed the creativity that has every other North Coast Section Division I team on notice that it is an NCS title contender.
"We came out really intense and really focused tonight," Pittsburg coach Juan Penate said. "We were very aggressive, and being aggressive right away was big for us."
Pittsburg's Esteban Berumen had a hat trick, scoring the Pirates' first two goals.
The first in the 21st minute was on a beautiful volley, then he scored seven minutes later after a great ball by Javier Valencia. Berumen got his third goal on a penalty kick just before the final whistle.
Newark Memorial (12-3-2), in suffering its first loss to an NCS team, couldn't quite build up play as Pittsburg played with high intensity and pressure from the opening whistle.
-- Matt Smith, correspondent