There is nothing fragile about the shooter’s mentality in basketball. You can’t discourage a shooter from taking the next shot.
Even if they’ve missed the last 10 shots, they’re still taking that next one because they know it’s going in.
Jessica Grant has that mentality.
The Mission Hills High senior had missed 11 consecutive field goal attempts in Wednesday’s final pool-play game of the Premier Division of the 22nd annual SoCal Holiday Classic at Canyon Hills High.
But the 5-foot-8 shooter still took and made a 3-point shot with 1:50 to play to spark the Grizzlies to a 48-45 win over Long Beach Poly.
The Grizzlies appeared headed to defeat, trailing 43-39 when Grant took the 3-pointer that hit nothing but net.
Senior Alina Tran, who was setting a screen for Grant, was run over.
Tran made both free throws for a 44-43 lead.
That was enough for No. 9-ranked Mission Hills (6-3) to advance to today’s championship finals at 1:30 p.m. against Orangewood.
“She’s my favorite 3-point shooter,” said Tran, who led the Grizzlies with 13 points to go with eight rebounds. “I set the screen and got shoved to the floor. I saw the ball go in from down there. Jessica showed up right when we needed her the most.”
Grant finished with just seven points while senior Kennan Ka had 12 points and sophomore Marian Brown added 10 points,
“We played really well coming into this game,” Mission Hills coach Chris Kroesche said. “Jessica hit the shot of the game. This is a veteran team that knows this is their time.”
Mission Hills, which has won three straight games, has just one loss to a local team, a 52-47 setback against top-seeded La Jolla Country Day.
Long Beach Poly (8-4) had won six of its last seven games before Grant’s last shot sank the Jackrabbits.
Na Williams led Poly with 15 points.
After a lackluster first quarter in which the Grizzlies never led, things changed in the second quarter.
The press did that. Long Beach Poly surrendered the lead courtesy of eight turnovers and a 3-for-14 shooting effort from the floor.
“We played better for about five minutes to start the third quarter thanks to the press,” Kroesche said. “The rest of the night was just an ugly game. They kept us out of what we wanted to do most of the night.”
A 15-8 surge gave Mission Hills the lead 25-22 at halftime.
Ka’s seven points in that quarter, along with five from sophomore Kyara Walter, were enough to spur the Grizzlies into the lead despite a 6-for-20 shooting effort in the first half.
Trailing 36-35 after three quarters, the Jackrabbits were 4:21 from winning when Grant’s shooter’s mentality spelled their doom.
“I think everyone around the county is missing the point with this team,” added Tran. “We haven’t won CIF in a few years and I don’t think they understand what we’re capable of doing.”
Exactly what the shooter’s mentality is all about.
Just ask Jessica Grant.
Monahan is a freelance writer.