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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Arreguin, Domingo guide La Mirada girls basketball to historic win in rout of Gardena

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on X

In a season of firsts for the La Mirada High girls basketball program, the Matadores just added another win to its resume this past Tuesday in the CIF Southern California Division V Regionals. Denied a chance of playing in the program’s first CIF-Southern Section Divisional championship game when the Matadores lost to Colton High 43-42 in the 5AA semifinals on Feb. 17, they bounced back in a big way against Gardena High.

La Mirada broke the game wide open with an 18-0 run to begin the second half and knocked off the Panthers 55-35 in the first round game. The Matadores, seeded eighth in the division, will travel to top-ranked Montgomery High on Thursday. Montgomery, which defeated Temecula Prep 88-27 this past Tuesday to improve to 22-11, is located less than seven miles from the United States/Mexico border.

“I’m proud of the girls; we’ve worked hard, and they came out playing like they should be, tonight,” said La Mirada head coach Victoria Luong. “They executed exactly what we worked on.”

When they weren’t trading a plethora of turnovers in the opening minutes, both teams traded basket for basket until senior Jirah Domingo drained a three-pointer with 2:11 left in the opening quarter. It would be the beginning of an 8-0 run and by the time the stanza was over, the hosts had a 12-8 lead and never looked back.

Domingo would hit another basket from beyond the arc early in the second quarter, then a two-pointer over a minute later to increase the lead to 17-9. Then with 3:31 remaining in the half, she completed a three-point play for a 20-11 lead. After India Cage scored Gardena’s last points of the half with over three minutes left, freshman Jordin Shaw hit a three-pointer and junior Nayeli Tamayo concluded the scoring in the half with her only basket of the game.

“They struggled a lot with nerves like we have been in previous games, and I think finally, they got the hang of it,” said Luong of the second quarter. “[Junior] Jael [Arreguin] made numerous turnovers in the first quarter and I think after that, we just let it go and just played what she knows.”

To make sure the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division V champions wouldn’t get back in the game, the Matadores began the second half on an 18-0 run with Domingo scoring the last seven points. That came after Arreguin scored seven straight including a coast to coast basket following a steal.

“The girls were just on it today,” said Luong. “We’ve been undefeated at home [all season], so we’ve got to protect that, and they did an amazing job.”

La Mirada’s last basket of that run came with 3:38 left in the third and although Gardena would score the last seven points of the stanza, plus the first two of the fourth quarter, a 21-point lead was still comfortable for the Matadores. The Panthers continued their momentum, going on a 7-2 run after Shaw scored following a steal from Domingo. But with 4:38 left to play in the game, and La Mirada up 47-29, all the hosts had to do was control the clock.

One move that Luong made, which paid off, was insert junior Simran Sahota into the starting lineup for Tamayo to add extra presence on the boards with junior Emily Gonzalez. While the latter had four rebounds in the opening quarter, she picked up three fouls in the first half. Meanwhile, Sahota picked up the slack and grabbed six rebounds in the second quarter.

“We watched film, obviously, and we knew what to expect and we knew [Gardena] had massive rebounds against Fremont [High] in their championship game on Friday,” said Luong. “We knew we had to step up on our rebounds and the bigs had to make a difference.”

Domingo led everyone with 25 points, had six rebounds and four steals while Arreguin added 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Sahota and Gonzalez ended with 10 and eight boards respectively as the team picked up 42 rebounds.

If La Mirada can pull off the upset against Montgomery, it will face either fourth-seeded Immanuel High or fifth-seeded Sage Creek High on Saturday in the regional semifinals. Immanuel won the CIF-Central Section Division IV championship and defeated Rosamond High 62-23 this past Tuesday while Sage Creek, the CIF-San Diego Section Division III finalists, knocked off Escondido High 60-44 in the opening round.

“I always tell the girls, especially in the playoffs, we take it one game at a time,” said Luong. “So, we don’t what them to assume anything based on anything. Now we’ll focus on Montgomery and do our best.”

In other girls basketball action, Cerritos High, playing in its second ever state playoff game, upset second-seeded Louisville High 47-44 this past Tuesday in a Southern California Regional Division II first round game. The Dons (24-10) will travel to {Sherman Oaks) Notre Dame High on Thursday. The Knights, seeded 10th in the division, upset Poway High 58-50 this past Tuesday. The winner of this game will face either third-seeded Hamilton High or 11th-seeded Santa Margarita High on Saturday.

BOYS BASKETBALL

The dream season for Cerritos ended when the Dons came up short against University City High 68-65 in a Division III first round game this past Tuesday. The loss snapped a 15-game winning streak and came three days after the Dons (22-11) knocked off Yeshiva University of Los Angeles in the 4AA championship game. Senior Luke Rigor led Cerritos with 17 points while senior Shay Pema added 13 points and junior Benson Cho chipped in with 10 points.

GIRLS SOCCER

Artesia High, fresh off its 1-0 double overtime win against Maranatha High to capture the Division 7 title, defeated Bernstein High 3-1 this past Tuesday in a Southern Califiornia Division V first round game. The Pioneers, who have won eight and tied once in their last nine games to improve to 20-3-3, will visit Bell Gardens High on Thursday. The winner of that game will face either Diamond Ranch High or Maranatha on Saturday in the regional final.

BASEBALL

Artesia has lost all three games played this season and will visit Bellflower High on Tuesday before hosting Buena Park High on Thursday while Cerritos (3-0-1) hosted Newport Harbor High on Feb. 28. The Dons will be home to Laguna Beach High on Friday and go to St. John Bosco High on Saturday and to Millikan High on Wednesday.

Gahr High ended a three-game losing streak when it doubled up Hart High 4-2 this past Tuesday. The Gladiators (4-2) will host Bonita High on Saturday and go to Warren High on Tuesday in the Gateway League opener.

John Glenn High lost to Loara High 5-2 this past Tuesday and has alternated losses and wins in its first five games. The Eagles went to Santa Ana Valley High on Feb. 29 while La Mirada blanked Stony Brook High 4-0 this past Tuesday to move to 2-2. The Matadores will go to Bonita High on Friday, face Ayala High on Saturday and travel to Downey High on Wednesday.

Norwalk High defeated Paramount High 6-3 last Wednesday to improve to 2-3 and will host Downey on Tuesday while Valley Christian High has lost two straight after winning four in a row. The Defenders (4-3) visit Maranatha on Friday in the Olympic League opener in their last game before Mar. 12.

In the return of Whitney High baseball, the Wildcats have lost their first two games by a combined score of 43-9. Whitney goes to Western High on Tuesday.

SOFTBALL

Artesia edged Katella High 9-8 last Saturday in the Battle on the Blvd. Tournament to even its mark at 2-2. The Pioneers hosted Mayfair High on Feb. 28 and will travel to Norwalk on Tuesday before entertaining Sunny Hills High on Thursday.

Cerritos is 3-1 after blanking Anaheim High 10-0 this past Tuesday. The Dons will host Wiseburn-Da Vinci High on Friday and will welcome Ocean View High on Wednesday before going to Western on Thursday.

Gahr is off to a solid 4-2 start after knocking off Millikan 5-1 this past Tuesday. The Gladiators will visit Downey on Tuesday in the Gateway League opener, then visit La Habra High on Thursday.

Glenn is 1-1 and will visit V.C. on Friday before entertaining Montebello High on Thursday while La Mirada had no problems with Roosevelt High last Friday, 10-4, to improve to 4-1-2. The Matadores are in Bullhead City to compete in the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions through Saturday, then go to Yorba Linda High on Wednesday.

After an opening season loss, Norwalk has won four straight including a 6-4 decision against El Rancho High last Friday. The Lancers are home to Sultana High on Friday while V.C. saw its five-game winning streak halted by Long Beach Poly High this past Tuesday in a 12-7 affair. The Defenders will visit Newport Harbor on Saturday before taking the next nine days off while Whitney has lost all three games this season. The Wildcats slammed Lennox Academy 11-1 this past Tuesday and hosted Valencia High on Feb. 29. They will travel to Costa Mesa High on Friday and entertain Western and Firebaugh High on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.