Girls basketball: Flames’ defense breaks down at tournament

Lodi guard Marissa Fabian (middle) races Edison's Kylie Murray (21) and Jordan Thomas (right) in the second quarter of the Edison Tournament on Nov. 30.

Accomplishments: Marissa Fabian is commonly asked one particular question that seems to give her celebrity status.

A four-year starter on the Lodi High girls basketball team, Fabian, a guard, shined on the court in three of five games last week that she scored in double-digits. Fabian led the Flames with 12 points against host Edison in winner’s bracket of the Edison Viking Tournament on Nov. 30. But the host Vikings raced past Lodi 59-34.

In the tournament opener against Sheldon on Nov. 29, Fabian was one of three Flames who scored in double figures, with 14 points. That helped Lodi quiet the Huskies 56-36. Fellow seniors in forwards Brooke Aberle (team-high 16 points) and Ellie Van Tassel (13 points) were the other contributors.

“We have a lot of people who can score,” Fabian said. “It’s just finishing. I know for me, once I get into the paint, able to finish, or just like the easy, open shots.”

The one time she didn’t score in double figures was on Saturday. Lodi (2-6) played St. Francis of Sacramento for third place at the Edison Viking Tournament. Fabian, who’s been playing point and shooting guard, scored nine points. St. Francis 63-38 win over the Flames.

“They were really aggressive,” said Fabian of St. Francis.

Fabian scored only four points for the Flames in a non-league game at Liberty Ranch, which rallied in the fourth quarter for a 50-41 win at The Hawks Next on Nov. 26. The next day, the guard had eight points against Del Oro in a non-league game at The Inferno. The visiting Golden Eagles, out of Loomis, posted a 53-46 win over the Flames.

Fabian is having fun in the Flames’ new offense, which is the pick-and-roll.

“With our new offense, it gives everyone a lot more opportunity with the pick-and-roll,” Fabian said. “To get more open looks. This is just me, but more lanes to drive into, to get to the basket. Also dish it down low to the post.”

Lodi coach Brandon Shea is using Fabian at the point guard position to run the Flames’ offense. Shea has also used senior Calista Morita and juniors Ashlee Toy, Ashley Vasquez and Aiyana Evans, who played as a sophomore last winter.

“I prefer to be point guard just because I’m more comfortable with that,” Fabian said. “But we have a lot of other girls that can play that position. We could all be point guards.”

Although this year’s team has had a rough start, Fabian is more than optimistic that her and the Flames, who went 16-11 last year, can turn things around before the start of Tri-City Athletic League play.

“As long as we can get through the press and play strong defense, box out, all of the fundamentals, I think we have a good chance at trying to be back at where we were, but even better than last year,” Fabian said.

Now the question Fabian is asked often: Out of the three sports she plays at Lodi High, which one does she enjoy playing? The 5-foot-7 Fabian has also been a starter on the Lodi High volleyball team the last three years, and next spring will wrap up her final year wearing a Lodi High softball uniform.

“I get asked that a lot,” chuckled Fabian.

A drum roll please — softball is Fabian’s favorite sport. She has been a starter on the Lodi High varsity softball team since her sophomore year, playing left field most times.

“Between basketball and softball, I’ve been playing basketball since I was really young,” said Fabian, 18. “But softball is the one taken more seriously.

That is because during the summer and fall months in recent years, Fabian has played on competitive softball teams. She’s also found time to play on AAU basketball teams during that same time.

Although spring 2019 will mark the end of her prep career as a Flame, Fabian is hoping to continue playing softball or basketball in college after she graduates from Lodi High next spring.

Contact Mike Bush at Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.

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