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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW Gahr, Whitney girls basketball teams win opening games of the Glenn-Norwalk Tournament

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

After splitting the first four games of their first tournaments to begin the new season, the Gahr High and Whitney High girls basketball teams each picked up victories in the opening round of the Glenn-Norwalk Tournament this past Wednesday night at John Glenn High. The tournament kicked off with Whitney holding off La Serna High 42-36 while Gahr had an easier time against Mary Star of the Sea High in a 47-14 triumph.

While the Lady Wildcats never trailed, they had a hard time pulling away from the Chiefs throughout the contest. Whitney had an 11-2 first quarter lead before La Serna got to within a basket with 94 seconds left in the stanza. Early in the second quarter, a three-pointer from sophomore Christine Hamakawa put Whitney up 20-13 and four straight free throws from senior Nicole Lee enabled the ‘Cats to hold a 24-15 halftime advantage.

Whitney would opened up a 10-point lead twice in the third quarter before La Serna got to within two points again, this time early in the fourth quarter. But Hamakawa, who had a team-high 17 points, put the game away with consecutive three-pointers as Whitney would go up 38-30.

Hamakawa would also grab nine rebounds and have three steals while Lee added 12 points and also had nine boards. Sophomore Justine Wu chipped in with eight points, five steals and three rebounds as Whitney would face Whittier High on Dec. 8.

Later in the evening, it was all Gahr as it was barely challenged by the Stars. The Lady Gladiators raced out to a 10-2 first quarter lead and led 19-5 at the break. Gahr would get balanced scoring in the first half as senior Lauren Magno and junior Naomi Ellis each had five points while junior Nori Smith and sophomore Hannah Kumiyama each added four points. In addition, freshman Kimya Oliver had six rebounds in the first quarter alone and finished with 10 of the team’s 44 rebounds for the game.

Kumiyama and junior Dezirae Smith each had a season-high 10 points while Ellis, freshman Clarissa Heredia and Nori Smith all had half a dozen points. Kumiyama would also have eight rebounds and three steals while Ellis and Nori Smith each had five boards. The Lady Gladiators would meet Crescenta Valley High, a 75-5 winner over Mountain View High, on Dec. 8. The tournament will conclude on Saturday.

In other girls basketball action, Cerritos High is off to a 2-3 start as the Lady Dons fell to Lakewood High 50-31 this past Monday in the first game of the Ocean View Tournament. Valley Christian High also came away with a split in its first tournament, going 2-2 in the Redondo Battle of the Beach event.

V.C. visited Lakewood High on Dec. 8 and will visit Long Beach Wilson High tonight before facing Westminster High and South East High in pool play action of the 40th Annual V.C. Tournament on Monday and Wednesday respectively.


The game of the week takes place tonight as Cerritos will visit Gahr in the annual city tussle between two solid programs. Cerritos enters the contest with a 1-3 mark but its last two losses in the Buena Park Tournament have come by a combined three points. The Dons fell to Foothill High 53-51 on Dec. 1 and lost to Kennedy High 74-73 last Saturday night. Cerritos will then face Orange Lutheran High on Monday in pool play action of the North Orange County Championships. Cerritos will also play Capistrano Valley High and Lakewood High on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively to finish pool play action.

After taking the consolation championship of the Pacific Shores Tournament the week of Thanksgiving, Gahr lost to Oak Park High 82-57 last Friday and will sport a 3-2 mark entering tonight’s game. The Gladiators are also in the North Orange County Championships and will face Servite High on Monday, La Habra High on Wednesday and La Mirada High on Thursday in pool play action.

Cerritos and Gahr played each other three times last season with Cerritos knocking off the Gladiators 83-76 in the finals of the Cerritos-Gahr Tournament before the Gladiators won 76-66 six days later. The two rivals met again in the North Orange County Championships with Cerritos coming away with a 74-62 victory.

Glenn, which went winless last season, picked up its first win last Friday, a 60-51 overtime affair against Duarte High in the Sierra Vista Tournament. The Eagles, who are 1-5, will visit Century High tonight.

Norwalk opened up pool play action of the 56th Annual Valley Christian Tournament with a 74-30 win over Samueli Academy this past Monday. The win was the third straight for the Lancers, who will face Monrovia High on Monday to begin the Pioneer High.

V.C. won its first pool play game of its own tournament by taking care of Excelsior Charter 97-7 this past Tuesday. The Crusaders are also in the Pioneer Tournament and will face Bell High on Monday.

Whitney went 2-2 in the Los Amigos Tournament and will host Orange High on Monday.