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Independent Voice

Dixon beats Chico to advance in D3 playoffs

Mar 02, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Shaun Holkko, sports editor

Dixon senior forward Brianna Humphries (center left) and a Chico Panther tip-off the first round of the CIF State Girls Basketball Championships on Tuesday, March 1 in Dixon. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Brown.

Dixon beats Chico to advance in D3 playoffs [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

DIXON, CA (MPG) – One year after playing a season with only 10 games due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Dixon High School girls varsity basketball team has won 20 games in a row.

The Rams (27-3, 10-0 Golden Empire League) returned home Tuesday for the first round of the Division III CIF State Girls Basketball Championships. Dixon defeated Chico (19-9, 8-2 Eastern) by a score of 58-46.

“With Chico, I knew it was going to be a tough game because they have very good outside shooting,” Dixon head coach Mike Gilliard told the Independent Voice. “Their guard was very crafty, she knew how to split defenses. So, the plan was to jam her up, try to force bad passes and get out to those guys at the 3-point line.”

The Rams won each quarter, with their biggest margin of victory coming in the second period when they outscored the Panthers 14-7. However, the Rams did not win this game without facing adversity.

Early in the game, Dixon’s pressing defense was successful leading to multiple Chico turnovers. Then the Panthers went on a run sparked by 3-pointers that led to a Rams timeout. Gilliard spoke to his team during the break and stressed how they don’t want to give the Panthers hope for a comeback and wanted to avoid a “dog fight” of a game. Following the timeout, the Rams got back on track and seized control.

“After they were starting to break our press and were throwing those threes up, we started adjusting on defense and knew that there was a couple of shooters on their team that we had to close out good and make sure they didn’t get a set shot off,” said Dixon senior forward Brianna Humphries.

Dixon came into Tuesday night’s game with momentum on top of their 19-game winning streak, as the Rams had just won the Division IV section championship on Friday at Golden 1 Center.

Humphries stuffed the stat sheet for the Rams with another double-double, recording a game-high 15 points (on 7-of-13 from the field), 10 rebounds, five blocks, three steals and two assists.

Senior captain Talia Medalle nearly had a double-double of her own with nine points and eight assists. Guards, senior Janie Ming and junior Brynne Dominguez, added 10 points each.

“I told them after the game, ‘You guys did great,’” Humphries said about Ming and Dominguez. “It was such a good game. For us to work together and not just me (scoring) again, it helped me a lot and our whole team out.”

Gilliard said the team’s chemistry is what has led to this season’s success.

“The team really clicks together, they all look out for each other,” Gilliard said. “The good thing about this team is that they all are truly friends. I have had teams where we were pretty decent, but the girls did not click. So, when it came down to a championship game or crunch time, people were very selfish, and this team isn’t like that.”

Gilliard has been the head coach at Dixon since the 2014-15 season when he took the Rams to the second round of the state playoffs. Now seven years later, Gilliard’s team is back.

“Now to see this team get a section championship plus going to the second round is a big thing,” Gilliard said. “I told the girls, ‘You’ve accomplished a lot. If we keep working hard, you’re really going to put Dixon on the map.’ That’s just the goal. We have a tough game coming up on Thursday.”

Dixon will now hit the road for the second round as the Rams play at Oakland Tech (17-11, 7-1 Oakland) on Thursday night at 6 P.M.