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John Glenn ends losing skid, pulls away from Artesia in third quarter

CANTWELL SACRED HEART OF MARY CARDINAL CLASSIC

By Loren Kopff

MONTEBELLO-On Dec. 14, John Glenn girls basketball head coach Linda Parra decided not to play Suburban League rival Norwalk in its final game of the Glenn/Norwalk Tournament. Last Saturday morning, Parra and Artesia head coach Shontya Pouncey didn’t want to face each other in the not so popular Silver Bracket last place game of the Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary Cardinal Classic.

But both coaches were overruled by their respective players and after leading by five points at the half, Glenn went on a 12-2 run to begin the third quarter and ended up with a much needed 51-30 victory. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak as the Lady Eagles head into Suburban League action with a 3-11 mark.

“They needed it; they needed that emotional win because they have worked hard,” Parra said. “We’ve had two overtime losses. We’ve lost a couple of games by a few. They needed the win for themselves.”

“I never usually say this because I don’t like giving people ammunition, but this team wanted to play John Glenn,” Pouncey said. “They said it yesterday. I don’t like playing [league teams] outside of our league [schedule]. They wanted it and I thought they played hard.

“For them not having a spring, summer or fall league program, this is all I could ask for,” he continued. “All I want them to do is compete and today they did.”

Glenn ended the first quarter on a 7-0 run and when senior Myra Gomez began the second quarter with a three-pointer, the Lady Eagles had a commanding 16-6 lead. Sophomore Savanna Aguilar was the spark Glenn needed in the opening quarter as she scored 10 of her game-high 16 points early on. Aguilar went four of seven from the field with a pair of three pointers in the first quarter.

“You’ll see what Savanna can do when teams want to sag in on Gomez, and that’s hit an outside shot,” Parra said. “The only problem with playing Artesia early is Artesia got to see the strength we have. It’s kind of hidden; a lot of people don’t know about Savanna yet. But Savanna needs to adjust and still continue grow as a player.”

But the Pioneers chipped away at their deficit and played probably their best quarter of the tournament. Artesia got four points each from juniors Keina Harris and Onica Yu and had 11 of its 44 rebounds in the stanza.

The closest the Pioneers would get was three points after Yu’s basket to open the third quarter made it a 22-19 affair. After that, Artesia missed nine straight shots from the field and didn’t score until 1:51 remained in the quarter.

“The first four minutes was just tough for us,” Pouncey said. “We don’t have many experienced basketball players. However, the effort that they gave was good. I liked that. The stretch that [Glenn] went on…that’s just part of us not being in basketball shape, yet.”

Even though the Lady Eagles were comfortably in front, Artesia tried to make one more comeback in the fourth quarter. In a 35-second span, the Pioneers scored five straight points to trail by a dozen. But Artesia struggled at the free throw line, missing 10 charity shots in the fourth quarter and connecting on only seven of 29 free throws in the game. “My team is not very emotional,” Parra said. “It’s a lot of emotional management with this team of staying up, stay positive, continuing to push hard and don’t let up. I’m trying to get them to buy into defense versus offense.”

Gomez, who was named to the all-tournament team, had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Lady Eagles and was coming off a career-high 36 points last Friday against Price in which she went 15 of 17 from the free throw line. Her single game scoring performance ranks seventh best in school history and nine off of the school record set by Angelia Moren in 1991. The 36 points were the most scored by a Glenn player since Brandi Hood poured in 37 against Norwalk on Jan. 11, 2006. Four other Glenn players have scored either 42 or 45 points in a single game.

Junior Ana Zavala led Glenn with eight rebounds and pitched in with eight points while senior Mayra Ramirez added six points and six rebounds. Glenn had fallen to Bell Gardens 38-29 last Thursday and to Price 54-52 in overtime the next day. The Lady Eagles open up league action on Wednesday against Norwalk.

“They played as a unit today,” Parra said. “We limited our turnovers, which was great to see and we had way more shot attempts than Artesia. That really was the difference in the game. They out-rebounded us offensively; every team does, it seems like.”

Artesia dropped to 2-12 and didn’t have anyone reach double figures in the entire tournament. Harris had a career-high nine points and 12 rebounds against Glenn while senior Daisy Briseno scored a career-best eight points, grabbed a dozen boards and was Artesia’s all-tournament representative.

“She is a good leader for us on the floor,” Pouncey said of Briseno. “She directs our defense, she’s rebounding like a champ right now and she’s improved her free throw shooting. The thing about Daisy is she’s the best volleyball player at the school and now she’s starting to emerge as one of the leaders of our basketball team. She obviously made the all-tournament team, but she was well deserving of it and I’m proud of that kid. She’s come a long way.”

Yu, the team’s leading scorer, also had eight points and eight rebounds. Artesia was coming off losses to Campbell Hall (66-32) last Thursday and to San Pedro (58-11) last Friday. The Pioneers host Bellflower on Wednesday in their league opener.

“We have to get into some physical conditioning,” Pouncey said. “Our basketball shape needs to be better. I have a lot of respect for [Linda] and Chad [Reuter] from Bellflower. To me, they are two of the best coaches in our league. As a coach, I think she’s great. She made some great adjustments off our triangle and two. They did a great job off our box and one. We’ll learn from this and make the adjustments and hopefully be able to play more man to man with them in league.”

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