Sacramento High is one of the area's most feared and respected girls basketball programs. The Dragons are ranked No. 1 by The Bee and No. 10 in Northern California by NorCalPreps.com.
But before Wednesday's Metro Conference game against No. 5 McClatchy, Sac coach Michelle Massari still was looking for a little more grit from her Dragons.
She got what she was looking for as Sacramento put on a show of dominance in beating the young Lions 52-36 in Oak Park.
Other than the opening minutes, the Dragons never trailed and by halftime had built a 26-15 lead.
When the Lions closed to within nine points, 41-32, on a three-pointer by Alex Washington with 5:05 to play, the Dragons (16-4, 7-0) ran off 11 consecutive points, including three-pointers by freshmen Alana Myers and Aliceah Hernandez and senior Allie Green to make sure there would be no comeback or threat to a league winning streak that is now 84 games.
"Our challenge, which I stressed to them at halftime, was that we've got to take it personal when people make runs on us," Massari said. "We have to push back and put them away. I thought we did a good job of that in the third quarter."
Junior Chaya Durr, who finished with a game-high 16 points, set the tone opening the second half.
The rangy 5-foot-10, quick-handed guard single-handedly scored the first eight points for a 34-15 advantage, including back-to-back steals that she converted into layups. Durr was 7 of 13 from the field, most coming on slashing drives.
"Chaya is going to be a phenomenal player, a major-level kid," Massari said.
Sacramento's freshman trio of Hernandez (nine points), Myers (eight points) and point guard Andrea Butler played key roles, too, but the Dragons' youth was trumped by that of McClatchy's.
The Lions (17-2, 5-2) had six underclassmen playing key roles on a team that came into the game with only one loss in 18 games.
Under second-year coach Jessica Kunisaki, the Lions are enjoying their best season since 2009-2010 when they went 24-7 and lost to Kennedy in the D-I section semifinals and to Berkeley in the CIF NorCal quarterfinals.
That team was coached by Lions legend Harvey Tahara, now a member of the Sac-Joaquin Section's Hall of Fame.
Kunisaki was a Bee All-Metro player for Tahara before going to to compete at Chapman University in Southern California.
"Jessica is doing a fabulous job," said McClatchy athletic director Rob Feickert. "I know they would have liked to play better tonight, but they'll bounce back."
Washington, a sophomore transfer from Folsom, led the Lions with 10 points, sophomore Lauren Nubla added nine points and the Lions twin towers of 6-2 freshman Gigi Garcia and 6-2 sophomore Destiney Lee combined for 10 more.
Both got good on-court experience battling against Dragons veterans Ayanna Edwards, a 6-4 junior, and Breanna Garrett, a 6-2 senior.