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By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
LA HABRA-As mismatches goes, the Gahr High girls basketball game against Sonora High in the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division III-AA playoffs was ugly in many ways. The young Lady Gladiators were never in the contest and were pummeled by the third ranked Raiders 61-15 last Thursday night.
Gahr shot a dismal 20 percent from the field and connected on only five field goals. But that wasn’t the only problem for a team that started three sophomores and one freshman. Gahr turned the ball over 36 times and were at a major height disadvantage as all five Sonora starters ranged from 5’ 8”-5’ 10”. Gahr would have three starters at 5’ 8” or shorter.
“When we came in, our number one thing was trying to beat their press,” said Gahr first-year head coach Rob Godwin. “That was the most important thing that we saw when they played other teams. We thought, at a point, we would be able to handle them if we went man. I think being in a zone so long might have killed us. If we would have come out of it a lot earlier and put pressure on them, it might have been a different game.”
After junior Lauren Magno put Gahr on the board almost two minutes in, the Raiders went on an 11-0 run and it got a lot worse from there. A three-point play from sophomore Naomi Ellis with 2:11 left in the first quarter would be the final points the Lady Gladiators would score until 66 seconds had elapsed in the third quarter. By that time, Sonora was up 47-7. Although the game was a runaway by now, both teams combined for 15 points in the third quarter with Gahr scoring half a dozen points.
“Everybody is looking to make the extra pass and you can’t do that every time,” Godwin said of the shooting slump. “Sometimes we overpass instead of just going in and trying to put up a shot.”
Ellis led Gahr with six points and nine rebounds while freshman Hannah Kumiyama added four points. The 15 points were a season-low for Gahr, which finished the season at 12-14. But one bright spot for Godwin and the program is the number of players returning next season. The Lady Gladiators graduate four seniors and had four sophomores and one freshman on this season’s team along with four juniors.
“I think they all grew up this year,” Godwin said. “We’re looking for bigger things from them in the next couple of years. But I think they grew up as a team because they’re going to be the same group coming back next year. And hopefully we get more out of our seniors next year.”
In other girls basketball action, Valley Christian High came up a few points short in a 32-29 setback to Westridge High last Thursday night in a Division IV-A first round game. Junior Cheyenne McKinnie led the Lady Crusaders (16-12) with 18 points while freshman Calla Anderson added eight points.
Also in the division, Whitney High was no match for top ranked St. Anthony High in a 66-25 first round contest last Thursday. The Lady Wildcats (12-11) were led by freshman Justine Wu’s eight points and five more from sophomore LiMea Vera and freshman Kiana Sanchez.
After posting a narrow 59-56 win over Northwood High in the second round of Division II-A action, the season came to an end for Cerritos High this past Tuesday night as the Dons fell to third ranked Hart High 64-49 in the quarterfinals. Cerritos concludes the season at 18-12 and will lose all five starters to graduation.
In Division III-AA action, seventh ranked Gahr High fell to 10th ranked San Marcos High 66-52 last Friday to end the season at 16-12 while Norwalk High lost to fifth ranked Colony High 59-42. The Lancers wrap up their season at 14-13.
After blanking the California Academy of Mathematics and Science 2-0 in the first round of Division VI action, Valley Christian High squeaked out a 2-1 overtime victory at San Marino High this past Wednesday evening. The Crusaders, who were co-champions of the Olympic League, improved to 12-6-3 and have won four straight and eight of their last nine games. Junior Clay D’Amico tied the game in the 60th minute and sophomore Josh Akrofi netted the game winner in the second overtime to send the Crusaders to this evening’s home quarterfinal game against top ranked Desert Mirage High.
In Division IV action, Artesia saw its season come to an end after bowing out to Chaparral High 2-1 in overtime. The second place representatives from the Suburban League end the season at 18-5-3.
Valley Christian High was aiming to reach the Division VI quarterfinals but lost a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Grand Terrace High that was decided in penalty kicks. Freshman Christina Pollard put the Lady Crusaders on the board in the 19th minute before Grand Terrace tied the game 13 minutes into the second half. In the penalty kick session, senior Chloe Garris scored in the first round and freshman Kennedy Wesley put V.C up 2-1 in the fourth round. After Grand Terrace tied it up after the Wesley goal, it remained 2-2 until freshman Hannah Lara scored in the seventh round. Grand Terrace would win it in the eighth round as the Lady Crusaders wrap up the season at 9-11-4.
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