Redwood head coach Jason Black put together a detailed 3-page game plan that had practically every possible scenario detailed for the Rangers' Division II semifinal date with the Garces Rams.
And the Rangers pretty much followed the script to the defensive side of Black's strategic plan to a T. However, the Rangers' sluggish offense wasn't able to snap out of its slump, and Garces' star sister duo of Rachol and Celeste West did more than enough to keep Redwood from making a return trip to Selland Arena for the Central Section Girls Basketball Championships.
No. 2 Garces defeated No. 3 Redwood 51-41 Tuesday night at Garces Memorial High School.
"The goal of the program is to give ourselves a chance [to make it to Selland Arena], and we gave ourselves a chance. We just came up a little short," Black said.
The primary objective for Redwood was to somehow find a way to stop a red-hot Rams offense. Garces had a scoring average of 72.8 points per game over their previous 12 contests.
And the Rangers did a commendable job in prohibiting the Rams from ever establishing a viable offensive rhythm. Garces was a mediocre 11-of-34 shooting in the first half (32.4 percent).
But Garces' offensive woes were paltry compared to what Redwood encountered.
The Rangers had just 13 first-half points. They had 10 turnovers in the first quarter, and made just one of their first 10 attempts in the second quarter.
Redwood, one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the Central Section, knocked down just two 3-pointers. Garces made six, including four from freshman Victoria Cruz.
"We really didn't come into this game with the experience we thought we had, and it showed with the mistakes we made," Black said. "We just made too many mistakes [offensively]. We would steal the ball, but we couldn't make the layup. We had chances to make things happen, and we couldn't get it done."
The best offensive stretch for Redwood (22-6) was late in the third quarter when it scored the final eight points of the period, but that only cut Garces' 20-point advantage to 12 (38-26).
Corissa Turley had 14 points to pace Redwood. Taylor Carter had eight points, and Jasmine Black added seven.
Rachol West had 18 points, and Celeste West added 12 to go with her game-defining defensive presence for Garces (27-2).
Garces never encountered a deficit. After Rachol West buried a 3-pointer with 4:58 left in the first quarter to put the Rams up 6-3, they never surrendered the lead.
Garces owned a 30-13 halftime lead, and the margin never dipped below eight points at any point in the second half.
Garces will be play No. 1 Independence in Friday's Division II title game at Selland Arena. Game time is 6 p.m.