Elliot Redkey’s early energy helped spark the Bishop Diego girls basketball team Saturday night, propelling the Cardinals to a 74-26 victory over Calvary Chapel.
Redkey impressed Bishop coach Jeff Burich from the start of Saturday’s CIF-SS Div. 5A showdown, as the junior converted a number of steals into layups to help the Cardinals (21-8) build an early lead. Bishop took a 6-0 lead before the Grizzlies (5-12) were able to advance the ball past half court.
“We just took the air of their sails right at the start,” Burich said.
Bishop, which entered Saturday’s game ranked No. 2 in Div. 5A, led 22-3 after the first quarter.
“We were hoping they would open with man to man (defense) and they did, and we were really able to take advantage of that,” Burich said.
Trailing by 25, the Grizzlies switched to a zone defense, though the Cardinals were able to display proficient passing and knock down open looks to extend the lead.
“Sometimes we had girls on the weak side low block and we just whipped passes through the lane,” Burich said. “I don’t really know how some of them got through, but it worked out for us.”
Bishop took a 46-9 lead at the half and never looked back. Redkey had a team-high 12 points. Julia De La Cruz and Clara McDonald also had solid contributions offensively, each scoring 10 points.
Bishop was able to sub out five girls at a time to keep a fresh lineup. Burich said the biggest difference he sees in this Bishop team is the depth of the 2019-20 squad.
“Our second five is almost as strong as our starting five,” he said. “I mean, sure they have different skill levels but there really is no drop off in talent.
“But that starts in practice, these girls just really challenge each other. There are times when you can’t even tell who the starters are or aren’t.”
Burich credited players like Siena Urzua, who flawlessly transitioned from soccer to basketball and has yet to miss a beat.
Despite winning its first two playoff games by a combined score of 125-52, Burich said Bishop has plenty to clean up as its playoff run continues. Things like full-court press defense, ball movement and fundamentals will be key moving forward.
Bishop will travel to Riverside Wednesday night to take on Woodcrest Christian. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.