Live Oak fends off a scrappy Gilroy team to remain perfect through seven

Gilroy Mustangs

Live Oak trailed Gilroy 5-1 when Grace Smith hit a 3-pointer.
That sparked a 12-0 run, which turned into a 14-2 march that led Live Oak to a 43-32 win.
A win that didn’t come easy.
“Coming in, I’ve had a chance to see Gilroy play twice and I told the girls, they’re not going to stop fighting,” said Live Oak coach Mike Kiefer. “They’re going to continue to play their game. They’re going to continue to work. They’re going to continue to get after it.”
Live Oak improves to 7-0 overall while dropping Gilroy to 1-7 overall.
“Live Oak is solid,” said Gilroy coach Mitchell Pierce. “They were solid last year and they have a lot of returners coming back this year. Mike has them going good over there.”
Live Oak smothered Gilroy to the tune of 22-10 at the half, which including holding the Mustangs to three points in the second quarter.
But Live Oak was held to seven points for the quarter and it was something that Kiefer said needs to be fixed.
“Fortunately we’ve been able to get away with it in the first seven games,” Kiefer said of an energy drop in games, “but there’s going to be games on the road where we’re not going to be able to afford to give up that energy. If we get on a team, we have to bury a team early.”
Gilroy’s defense forced Live Oak into seven turnovers in the second quarter and 26 for the game.
“I thought we adjusted well early,” Pierce said. “The girls stepped up and we adjusted our on defense and got right into it.”
Despite the 11-point loss, Gilroy still held the Acorns to their lowest scoring output for the season thus far.
“If you can keep Live Oak from catching fire, that’s a good thing,” Pierce said.
Live Oak came into the game averaging just shy of 54 points per game and had been held to fewer than 50 just once.
A lot of that was by denying Live Oak many second-chance opportunities. Gilroy out rebounded the Acorns 26-15 for the night.
“I thought Sarah (Weibe) and Maddy (Cox) did a great job down low,” Pierce said. “I know some others were in there too, but I feel like they were the two who were always in there scrapping for a rebound. They work hard every night and they hit the boards really hard tonight as well.”s
The Acorns went on an 11-4 run to start the third quarter, aided by Live Oak’s transition game.
Live Oak forced Gilroy into 11 turnovers for the quarter, leading Live Oak to get out in space, drain a couple of 3s and put up 16 out of the half.
“We pride ourselves and we work two hours a day transition,” Kiefer said. “We know we’re small, so anything we can do to get an advantage that’s what we’re looking for. So far in the first seven games, our transition has been really well.”
Live Oak then built up an 18-point lead after three quarters when the Mustangs began to fight back.
“Gilroy is a great group of girls. They continue to fight, continue to do their thing and continue to get after it. A lot of that you can probably say to their coach,” Kiefer said. “It starts at the top. The girls are not going to fight if he’s not putting that mentality in there.”
Live Oak went up 43-24 early in the fourth quarter and never scored again.
Gilroy finished on an 8-0 scoring run that put a scare into the Acorns, but it fell short of the ultimate goal.
Live Oak overcame Gilroy’s tenacity and its own eight fourth-quarter turnovers to pull out the 11-point win.
And the Acorns did it by getting even scoring from everyone.
Amy Gunther, Fayth Lyon and Grace Smith all had nine points to lead Live Oak, with Jennifer Rosales finishing with eight.
“We have a lot of girls who can put the ball in the bucket. But what’s amazing about this group of girls is not one of them cares who is the leading scorer that night; who’s the leading rebounder,” Kiefer said. “To them—and it’s something we preach—it’s constantly about the team. It’s constantly about making sure we as a team compete and just get the win.”
For Gilroy, Maddy Cox led with 12 points.

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