Mojave girls basketball coach Jessica Harrison says qualifying for the Class 3A state tournament a year ago helped change the culture of the program.
Winning isn’t an expectation. It’s a norm.
The Rattlers stormed out to an 8-2 lead at Del Sol on Wednesday night and cruised to 43-17 victory. Senior guard Alecia Kelly scored 19 points and controlled the pace of play and Chania Scott added eight points for Mojave (12-6, 7-1 Class 3A Sunset League), which cemented its second straight winning season after seven years without one.
“The momentum is good,” Kelly said. “We kind of brought it off of last year and carried it into this year. … I try to bring leadership and carry the team to get as many wins as we can.”
Harrison took over as coach in the middle of the 2017-18 season and guided Mojave to the state tournament for the first time in the program history. The Rattlers lost several key players to graduation, but returned Kelly — a dynamic guard who anchors the offense and perimeter defense.
“She’s been huge for our team,” Harrison said. “We definitely look to her for creating and scoring.”
Kelly did a little bit of both against Del Sol (8-11, 2-5), scoring 13 points in the second half an engineering a 7-0 run that helped the Rattlers build an double-figure lead.
She penetrated the Dragons’ 2-3 zone defense, attacked in transition, and found shooters on the wing and cutters attacking the basket. Del Sol, meanwhile, struggled to score in the halfcourt and scored seven points in the second half.
The Rattlers conclude their season with three league games and are eyeing a second consecutive state tournament appearance.
“We definitely use it as something to remind the girls that ‘Hey, we can get there,’ ” Harrison said. “It’s something that the returners, they remember … We have to work hard to get to that level.”