ATASCADERO — Atascadero High School hosted their 43rd annual Ruth Doser girls basketball tournament this past weekend and invited five schools from around California to compete over three days. The Ruth Doser tournament works a little differently than most basketball tournaments in that they do not keep track of the winners because all the games are pre-scheduled.
Santa Ynez, San Luis Obispo, Ocean View, Arvin, Paso Robles, and Atascadero all competed in the tournament and while there was no definitive winner, it was the SLO Tigers that went undefeated in their three games.
The Greyhounds went winless throughout the tournament but played well and were in two of the three games, their biggest weakness so far this season, and in the tournament, has been their inability to shoot a good percentage from the free throw line.
“It was a real learning experience for us,” Atascadero head coach James Stecher said at practice on Tuesday. “We were pretty much in all the games — we were in all the games. We learned that you got to make free throws. We shot 29 percent from the line for free throws which is…not good. If we would have made 60 percent of our free throws we would have won the first two games. In the third game, it kept us from being competitive in the fourth quarter because every time you miss a free throw they run down the court and score and it’s like a three- or four-point turnaround.”
The Hounds faced Arvin in their first game Thursday night, Nov. 29, and had a lead in the second quarter but could not hold it long enough losing 41-29. Friday night the Hounds played their closest game of the season so far when they faced Ocean View but again couldn’t quite hold on and as Ocean View won the game 46-37.
“I think it was a learning experience from them to understand the importance of that part of the game and the rest of the game I was happy with,” Stecher said. “Our defense was good and its getting better we are learning to play together and it’s a young team. We start four juniors and a senior so that is a learning experience. We are trying to get our team identity is what we're working on right now.”
In their final game, the Hounds played their cross-town rival in the Paso Robles Bearcats who ran away with the game, 53-27, in the second half as the Hounds struggled at the free throw line.
Nine girls were selected to the all-tournament team with at least one member coming from every team except for Atascadero. The members of the all-tournament team were Kimberly Buchanan (PR), Hailie Abel (PR), Helen Reynolds (Ocean View), Mariah Stone (Arvin), Malia Loos (SY), Lita Wright (SY), Kayla Croft (SLO), Anne Overland (SLO) and Lily Svetich (SLO) was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
The Hounds will be in another tournament starting on Wednesday and playing through Saturday as they head to the San Luis Obispo Winter Tournament.