Then came the second half and the Eagles (23-4, 10-0 in the Capital Athletic League), ranked No. 4 in the area by The Sacramento Bee, pulled away in the final frame to pick up a 65-45 win over the No. 17 Raiders (17-10, 7-3).
Jade Sowell-Hundon led El Camino with 23 points, including five three-pointers, and Simone Sheppard added 14. Rio Americano was led by Fie Brandt with 19 and Elizabeth Moulton with 10.
"We had a talk at halftime (with EC up 35-28) that they had come to play," Sowell-Hundon said. "It helped us in running our offense in the second half."
In all, the Eagles made 11 three-point shots on the night.
"Our three-point shooting was key; we haven't been that good all year," said EC coach Rich Drawbert. "Our defense was better in the second half, Lexi Price defended (Rio's) Elizabeth Moulton well and we rebounded better and made big shots."
With the game's outcome a forgone conclusion late in the fourth quarter, the El Camino fans cheered on Senior Night, for starters Sowell-Hundon and Alexis Haffner and reserves Rachel Reyes, who got a late three-pointer, Alana Bristow and Danielle Beard-Phillips. Rio had its senior night Tuesday against Antelope for Jaime Dixon, the lone senior.
Now the teams will get ready for the playoffs as seeding will be announced Sunday.
"Tonight, El Camino shot the ball well; we did okay but they're a little deeper," said Rio coach Jeff Hart. "We need to work on focusing... the team has to deliver better during games."
As for El Camino, Drawbert said to just keep this momentum going.
"We have to do a better job on defense and run our offense but I love the three-point shooting so hopefully we can keep that going."
EL CAMINO 65 RIO AMERICANO 45
Rio Americano 11 17 10 7 – 45
El Camino 22 13 19 11 – 65
RA–Moulton 10, Brandt 19, Wilson 4, Hanson 4, Dixon 4, Riel 4. EC–Brignac 7, Price 7, Haffner 8, Reyes 3, Sowell-Hundon 23, Luna 3, Sheppard 14.