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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – La Mirada girls basketball goes cold in fourth quarter, falls to Estancia

December 8, 2022

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

FULLERTON-A third straight win in the Vernie Ford Classic, hosted by Fullerton High, was there for the La Mirada High girls basketball team last Thursday afternoon. But the Matadores were held scoreless for the last 6:43 of the third quarter, then were limited to a single point over the final 6:34 of the fourth quarter.

Those two stretches hurt La Mirada as it fell to Estancia High 31-24. The Matadores would bounce back to knock off Fullerton 37-33 last Saturday to improve to 4-2 at the time.

“It’s stressful, but we couldn’t get the ball down the middle,” said La Mirada head coach Victoria Luong. “They have a lot [more] bigger girls than we do, and a lot of our shots…our shooters just weren’t making them today. They were off and like I was just telling [junior Jirah Domingo], she had 25 points last game and today, she had six points. Even [sophomore] Jael [Arreguin], who usually gets double digits, had less than 10 points this game.”

La Mirada would lead for most of the first half, surrendering the lead twice but never trialing by more than a point. And despite shooting only five of 24 from the field in the half, it was all about the defense. Sophomore Emily Gonzalez had five of her six steals before halftime and scored four of the 12 La Mirada points. The Matadores would collect 10 steals in the half, but also committed 13 turnovers.

With the Matadores up 12-11 at the break, they began the second half strong with Domingo sinking a three-pointer 17 seconds in, followed by a basket from Arreguin. But Estancia would go on a 9-0 run the remainder of the quarter to lead 20-17 with eight minutes to go.

Domingo added another three-pointer from the top of the key with 6:34 left in the game to give La Mirada its least lead at 23-22. The six points were a season-low for Domingo as she and Arreguin led the team in scoring. Arreguin also had nine rebounds and three steals while Domingo added seven boards.

“Usually Jirah is on it,” said Luong. “She has a really good field goal percentage. But tonight, was one of those nights where she just wasn’t making them. Honestly, it’s still a young team. We had one junior and 10 sophomores [tonight] and for a lot of them, last year was their first year playing.

“She’s going to be one of our leaders in two years,” she later added. “It’s one of those things where it was worth the risk; it was a close game. With her being our second best player, we had to utilize her and just make sure she’s smart enough not to foul out.”

This past Monday, La Mirada would crush South El Monte High 71-9 for its fifth win of the season, three more than all last season. Domingo, who would score 13 points against Fullerton, posted a career-high 37 points against South El Monte. Arreguin and sophomore Aleeya Willie each added 16 and 12 points respectively, both season highs. The Matadores will visit Bolsa Grande High on Tuesday before hosting Buena Park High on Wednesday and Long Beach Cabrillo High on Thursday.

“They have really been able to work together as a team a lot more,” said Luong. “I think the early start on practices [in the summer] and extended practices during fall season helped out a lot. We have a gym now; last couple of seasons, we didn’t have a gym to practice. A lot of it was out at the park running and just conditioning. So now, we actually have a court to practice on five days a week. Just access to the court has made a difference for the girls as opposed to starting in mid-October.”

In other girls basketball action, Artesia High was winless through its first five games as it hosted Mayfair High this past Wednesday and Morningside High on Dec. 8 as part of the Artesia Tournament while Cerritos High, winners of five straight games after beginning the season with two losses, will face Canyon High on Tuesday and San Clemente High on Wednesday to begin the Santa Ana Elks Tournament. 

Gahr High evened its mark at 4-4 after a 39-29 win over Chadwick High this past Monday. The Gladiators, who hosted Fullerton this past Wednesday, will visit El Segundo High on Saturday, Azusa High on Monday and St. Joseph High on Wednesday.

John Glenn High lost to Muir High 43-26 this past Monday to drop to 1-4. The Eagles began bracket play in its co-hosted tournament with Norwalk High this past Wednesday against Los Altos High. The tournament runs through Saturday, then the Eagles will host Blair High on Monday, Baldwin Park High on Tuesday and travel to Katella High on Wednesday. 

Norwalk began the week at 5-1 as it hosted Rowland High to begin the tournament and will also travel to La Habra High on Monday and San Gabriel High on Thursday while Valley Christian High fell to 3-5 following a 61-43 setback to Aquinas High this past Tuesday. The Defenders hosted Capistrano Valley High on Dec. 8 and will entertain Workman High on Friday before going to Santa Fe High on Tuesday.

Whitney High is the third area team to compete in the Glenn/Norwalk Tournament and after a 40-35 loss to Sunny Hills High this past Tuesday, played South El Monte in the first game of the tournament. The Wildcats will also visit San Juan Hills High on Monday.


After a 5-0 start to the season, Artesia has lost two straight games as it heads to the Inland Empire to face Palm Springs High on Friday and Indio on Saturday while Cerritos has lost seven straight games, including the first three of the North Orange County Tournament. The Dons will face Cypress High on Friday, conclude the tournament on Saturday and travel to La Habra on Thursday.

Gahr is also struggling at 1-5 after a 56-55 loss to Hillcrest High this past Monday in the opening game of the St. John Bosco Classic. When the tournament ends on Saturday, the Gladiators will visit Rancho Dominguez High on Wednesday.

A quick 2-0 start has been replaced with four straight losses for Glenn, including a 73-45 loss to Katella this past Monday. The Eagles went to West Covina High two days later and will go to Bellflower High on Tuesday before hosting Norwalk on Thursday.

La Mirada remained strong at 7-3 following a 68-48 win against Rancho Dominguez this past Tuesday. The Matadores hosted Rancho Cucamonga High on Dec. 8 and will visit St. Paul High on Wednesday.

V.C. also is sporting a 7-3 mark after a 79-75 win against Bonita High to wrap up the El Rancho Tournament. The Defenders visit St. Paul on Friday and will go to Chaminade High on Wednesday.