Short and sweet is the best way to describe the 2021 high school basketball season, and that was certainly the case for the Lady Jaguars this year.
Windsor wrapped up the spring campaign as one of the top teams in the North Bay League Oak Division at 6-1, finishing with an overall record of 9-2.
Although the league schedule was altered by cancellations due to COVID and the absence of perennial juggernaut Cardinal Newman, it doesn’t diminish what the team accomplished this season.
“It was a short season but one we can build on for next year,” veteran Jags coach Joe Passalacqua reflected. “To finish 9-2 was great for us, the girls gained a lot of confidence due to the fact that we were in every game, even though we lost to Maria Carrillo by 16 and Montgomery by four.”
Jags’ strong finish
The ladies opened their final stretch of play on May 22 at Ukiah, racing to a comfortable, 15-point halftime cushion. Still leading by 19 in the third quarter, the Wildcats began a furious comeback that would eventually send the game into overtime knotted at 56-all. Windsor regrouped in the extra frame to pull out a 6-66 win.
“We let them back in the game with poor defense and poor execution on offense,” Passalacqua noted. “They got the momentum and kept coming.”
Meredith Gilbertson led the Windsor attack with 18 points, while Maddie West chipped in 12.
The Jags ventured south to Montgomery on May 24, playing the hosts on nearly even terms most of the way before the Vikings eked out a 49-45 victory.
“We battled the whole game but just couldn’t get over the hump,” Passalacqua said, noting seven-point contributions from Nataleigh Johnson and West in the fourth quarter to keep it close.
The ladies got their mojo back the following night against visiting Ukiah, controlling the tempo for four quarters en route to a 52-38 win.
“Our defense was much stronger, and the girls played well,” Passalacqua said.
Gilbertson led the way with 13 points and 14 rebounds while Grace Boyle (12), West (11) and Page Finney (7) all played well for Windsor.
The Jaguars traveled to Analy for the season finale on May 27, keeping it close throughout the first half to trail, 23-20 at the break.
Windsor ratcheted up the intensity in the third quarter, powering into the lead with a great defensive effort.
“We kicked it into a higher gear in the third quarter,” Passalacqua noted. “We started pressing and getting into a better flow.”
Savahna Smith hit a big three-pointer in the period to put them on top and Windsor never looked back en route to a 57-45 win.
Boyle paced the offense with 20 points, six boards and three assists. Other top scorers were Gilbertson (16 points, 9 rebounds) and Smith (12 points, 2 steals).
The Jags say goodbye to seniors Johnson, Finney and Smith but hope to return 10 players to next year’s team.
“We’ll miss our three seniors, but we have a strong nucleus coming back,” Passalacqua said.