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Lady Dons blow a chance at first place, fall to Mayfair late

Cerritos High School (logo)

Cerritos High School (logo) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By Loren Kopff

Arial Adams, the first-year head coach for the Cerritos girls basketball team was pleasantly surprised to see her team build a 13-point lead against Suburban League front runner Mayfair this past Wednesday evening. But what she didn’t expect to see was that her team lost a chance to tie the Monsoons and Norwalk for first place as the first round comes to a close tonight.

The visiting Monsoons edged the Lady Dons 66-64 as freshman Angelika Soltis’ three-point attempt from the left wing with two seconds left was unsuccessful. Cerritos dropped to 9-8 overall and 3-2 in the league while Mayfair went through the first half of the circuit undefeated in six games.

“Honestly, we just weren’t smart,” Adams of the fourth quarter. “We couldn’t protect the lead. That’s pretty much what it was. I don’t really want to say it was too much of what Mayfair was doing. It was what we didn’t do too well.”

A fair of free throws from sophomore guard Alyssa Movchan put Cerritos up 46-23 with 5:29 left in the third quarter. Cerritos still led 62-56 with 2:52 left in the game following a basket from sophomore guard Taylor Hirata. But with Movchan, the team’s leading scorer, playing cautiously with four fouls, the Monsoons drew to within a point on a three-pointer from Arynna Sanz with 1:53 left. Then they took their first lead of the game 33 seconds later on a bucket from Aisha Baldwin.

Mayfair had kept it a two to three possession game throughout the first half despite Movchan and freshman power forward Tatiana Fominyam pacing Cerritos. The two youngsters combined to score 25 of Cerritos’ 36 first half points. Fominyam was perfect on all five of her field goal shots, grabbed four rebounds and had four steals while Movchan sank four three-pointers. But Movchan picked up her third foul late in the half and it had an effect in the second half.

“We didn’t respond well with her sitting out,” Adams said. “Her sitting out for awhile probably got her out of a little bit of a groove. We needed other people to step up. We had a lot of people playing out of position too.”

Movchan’s fifth and final perimeter basket put Cerritos up 44-31 early in the third quarter. But the rest of the team combined to shoot three of 14 in the stanza as Mayfair cut the big lead to five points entering the fourth quarter.

In addition to Movchan’s foul troubles, the Lady Dons had issues in the rebounding department, getting just 21 boards while Baldwin was dominating the glass on both ends, allowing her to score a game-high 28 points on 12 of 26 shooting from the field. Sanz pitched in with 15 points as well including her crucial three-pointer.

“It’s no secret that we’re small,” Adams said. “We just got manhandled blocking out.”

With Adams tweaking her starting lineup a bit, she received a big performance from Fominyam, who had a career-high 15 points, missed two field goals, grabbed seven rebounds and had five steals. She has now scored 31 points in the last three games.

“I’m excited about that,” Adams said of her freshman. “That’s going to help us in the second round. But again, we’re struggling as a team. We had two starters not play and we have four players that aren’t even here. It’s been a rough week for us. We practiced with seven players yesterday, so you can imagine us trying to prepare for a big game like this with seven people. But Tatiana stepped up. She did her job, especially as a freshman starter.”

Cerritos will visit John Glenn tonight before having a week off before opening the second round at La Mirada.

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