Monday, November 20, 2017
Page 715

Canyon Springs, 50, Santa Monica 48

Canyon Springs held on to win an intense battle for a state playoff berth by defeating highly-touted Santa Monica in a packed gym last night.

Both teams entered the game at 23-6, but it seemed like the heavy Santa Monica crowd was underestimating the Cougars from Moreno Valley, near Riverside.

SM dominated the first quarter with a few tools: excellent ball movement and some great outside shots. They were having trouble finishing on the inside, but their visible tenacity helped them to find other ways to score.

Canyon’s sophomore guard Tear’a Laudermill had the play of the first quarter when, right at the end, she had the ball and was dribbling up the sideline and tripped. She was suddenly on her knees walking and dribbling. Finally she turned and threw the ball backwards to a teammate. There was an audible “oooo” from the crowd. The score was 13-6 SM at the end of the first.

Laudermill got off two quick shots at the beginning of the second to put her team back in it. For the next several minutes, the two teams matched each other for made and missed baskets, and SM remained ahead by two. But right at the end of the period Laudermill hit a big jumper, knotting the two teams 19-19 at the break.

SM came on strong in the third quarter. Junior guard Thea Lemberger – a passionate player who lead her team on the floor – scored a big bucket to put SM ahead 23-19. Then it became the battle of the missed free throws. Both teams were called for fouls, and each squad’s free throw shooters missed both. Tre’shonti Nottingham finally broke it open for Canyon when she stole the ball and went coast to coast with it, and then on the next play hit a jumper to tie the game at 27.

The Cougars went on a run and were up by as much as 31-27 with 1:11 to go. But then ensued the type of hard-hitting play that makes those who know the game say that girls play harder than boys. There were wild ball chases, bodies hitting the floor and desperate passes to teammates from a half-laying position. SM hit one of two free throws at the end to cut Canyon’s lead to 31-30.

Canyon went on a run to start the fourth quarter, making a couple of key steals that each ended up in the hands of junior forward Amber Smith, who put them in. The Cougar crowd was going nuts as SM called a timeout at 4:25, the score 39-34 Canyon.

Then Lemberger hit a couple shots, including a three, which pulled her team even with their opponents. The next several minutes were back-and-forth, one team scoring and the other answering. Both teams continued to miss free throws, which is obviously the weakness of each of these quality squads, and it’s what proved to be the difference down the stretch.

A key Canyon shot put them up 46-43 with 1:18 to go, and Smith’s bit shot at 40 seconds go to padded that lead to 48-43. But SM answered, and thus began the battle of the called fouls and missed free throws. Foul: Canyon missed both shots, and a few seconds later SM missed one of two shots. 48-46 Canyon at 15.3 seconds. Foul: Canyon missed one FT shot. Foul: Lemberger then made both her shots, 49-48 Cougars at 9.4 seconds. Foul: Canyon then made one of two FT shots.

SM turned the ball over on the inbounds pass with 2.8 seconds to go, as Canyon lead 49-48. So they fouled the Cougars, and the player made one of two free throws. But SM didn’t have enough time to inbound the ball and get off a shot, and Lemberger was left with the ball in her hands as the buzzer sounded and the final score glared off the scoreboard.

Lemberger, who had been on the floor, stayed there for a moment as Cougar fans exploded, and when she got up she was crying. SM’s Coach Verdugo walked across the court, folded her up in his arms and guided her to the team huddle.

The lighting in the gym was really horrible, so all my pictures are a bit blurry, but you get the idea from this:

Lemberger and point guard Kristina Johnson were the most impressive players for their team.

On Canyon’s side, Laudermill and sophomore center Sophia Ederaine were the standouts. Ederaine began the game with two big-time blocks, and she proved to be quite a force for her team throughout the contest. Again, the pics were all blurry, but I tried to get a good shot of her because she is one to watch out for if she’s this good as a tenth-grader.

Other shots…….during the game, and SM coaches gather the tearful team at mid-court after the game for one last hands-together.

Across town, my partner-in-crime Monique took in the Inglewood-Muir game, and it proved to be a butt-clencher like the game I was at. The greatest point differential was 12-5 in the first quarter, and after that it was neck-and-neck. Inglewood pulled it out, barely.

Other Southern Section scores from last night:

Long Beach Poly 46, Troy 34
Cajon 66 Perris 32

Brea Olinda 79, Thousand Oaks 43
Edison 45, Mira Costa 37

Mater Dei 74, Villa Park 24
Beverly Hills 73 Summit 67

(MD’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 19 points)

Marlborough 61, Santa Margarita 44
Woodbridge 56 Diamond Ranch 37

Division IIIA
Foothill 78 Monrovia 69
Inglewood 59 Muir 58

Division IVAA
Orange Lutheran 67 Rosary 37
Notre Dame 55 Bishop Montgomery 53

Pacific Hills 64, JSerra 36
Harvard-Westlake 63 Winddward 50

Santa Maria St. Joseph 39, Cerritos Valley Christian 19

Bell-Jeff 68, Chadwick 42

This is the time of the tourney where it gets good, and the games are closer. But it’s also the rain season. This is the time of year where sometimes, strong girls in basketball uniforms will have tears in their eyes after games, their faces crumpled and flushed.

To all those strong girls in basketball uniforms, keep your heads up.

Pictures of the week

Mykiea Russell drives to the hoop during Umpqua Community College’s regional championship tie-breaker game Feb. 25, 2009.

Dulles standout Kelsey Bone and Nimitz prodigy Brittney Griner in Texas 5A regional semi-finals Friday, Feb. 27, 2009. Nimitz upset Dulles, despite Griner fouling out in the third quarter.

Pre-game captain’s meeting, Friday, Feb. 27, 2009: Washington Prep on left – Tayllor Gipson (foreground) and Kejuana Gardner; Taft’s Briana Smythe (foreground) and Joy Hubbard.

City Section scores from last night

I won’t rail once again on the lack of score reporting around here – especially from the so-called major daily newspaper, the LA Times, who last updated girl’s scores a week ago. I’ll just go ahead and report them my own self.

Chatsworth defeated Fairfax 63-47.

Taft defeated Washington Prep 69-57.

Not sure of the details of the first game, though I messaged with one of the Fairfax coaches last night, who said they were (obviously) very sad and disappointed.

At Taft, the home team started strong and was up on Prep, 16-8 at 2:44 in the first quarter. Prep rallied, but was only able to cut the lead to six, 19-13, at the end of one.

The Generals were within two, 29-27 at 2:22 in the second quarter, but the Torreadors stepped on the gas. They stepped up their defense and threw Washington off their game, and made a few key threes (senior Haley Newell was responsible for most of them the whole game long). Taft was up 41-26 at the half.

The third quarter was a nightmare for Prep: they were missing bunny shots and easy layups. In the meantime, Taft could do no wrong; they couldn’t miss. The referees were not doing their jobs, either, by letting a lot of blatant fouls go. (The moment I saw the short female ref before the game, I knew the officiating would be bad, because she is). The Generals let the crappy reffing (both ways) get to them, and this made things worse. The Torreadors were up 60-35 after three – the most I’ve ever seen Prep behind.

The Generals suddenly seemed to remember who they were in the fourth quarter, and they fought back. Junior guard Kejuana Gardner lead the charge, and Prep cut the lead to 63-50 with 2:40 to go. The usually-enthusiastic Washington crowd went wild.

But the Generals let Taft eat up too much time on the next possession, and they were slow with the ball themselves. The refs made another bogus call on Washington. A play later Gardner, never giving up, had the put-back; 66-53 with 1:14 to go. But thirteen seconds later, Gardner had to foul on purpose to stop the clock. Despite two great Gardner buckets in the final minute, it was too little, too late: 69-57 Taft.

Taft snapped Washington’s 18-game winning streak, and will play Chatsworth in the City Finals next Saturday evening at the Galen Center.

I’m not sure what happened to either team, as Taft had lost to El Camino Real (the team that Washington beat handily Wednesday night) twice during the regular season, and didn’t win their own league. And Washington didn’t look like themselves all night long.

The Taft crowd was sportsman and sportswoman-like, but I still say that the City Section playoffs should do as the Southern Section does and have playoff games at neutral school sites. It would be much more fair for every team concerned.

Fortunately for Washington, and maybe Fairfax as well, there is still state playoffs, so their seasons aren’t done yet.

Shekinna Stricklen: a star for a long time

LITTLE ROCK – Coach Shelly Davis watched the young woman dribble around the school gym, figured that she was a transfer, and penciled her in as Morrilton High School’s new point guard.

Shekinna Stricklen, 5-foot-6 at the time, was in the third grade……

Davis first contacted Tennessee when Stricklen was in the seventh grade. The coach cited a Sports Illustrated For Kids piece in which Stricklen said she wanted to grow up and play for the Lady Vols. A Pat Summitt assistant wanted to see the article so Davis made copies and forwarded them.

From that point on, UT people kept in touch.

A Tennessee assistant first saw Stricklen in the 10th grade and Summitt was in the stands for Stricklen’s final game of her junior year. Stricklen’s infatuation with Tennessee is rooted in seeing Chamique Holdsclaw play on TV when Stricklen was barely in elementary school.


Interesting piece. Some people really have the gift. The thing I learned today: how unselfish Stricklin was during high school ball.

Brittney Griner and Kelsey Bone: the real deal, Holyfield

In a game that drew more than 6,300 fans to the Campbell Center on Tuesday night, the game’s two stars, Nimitz’s Brittney Griner and Dulles’ Kelsey Bone did not disappoint……

Before she fouled out, Griner had 27 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks. Her points included two dunks that brought the crowd to its feet. Bone finished the game with 26 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.



One minute Griner is spiking an opponent’s shot into the fourth row, the next she is picking up a steal and taking the ball the length of the floor for a one-handed jam. Then she is floating to the rack for a two-hander that drives the crowd wild.


I know I’ve said this before, but I can’t wait to see Griner play in person. I’m pretty excited about Bone, too.

Southern Section Saturday games

A reader clued me in to, so I have tomorrow night’s game times and locations:

Long Beach Poly vs. Troy @ Cabrillo/Long Beach HS, 7 p.m.

Perris vs. Cajon @ San Bernardino HS, 7 p.m.

Colony vs. Ayala @ Chino HS, no time listed

Canyon Springs vs. Santa Monica @ Crossroads HS, 6:30 p.m.

Brea Olinda vs. Thousand Oaks @ Newbury Park HS, 7 p.m.

Edison vs. Mira Costa @ Huntington Beach HS, 7 p.m.

Mater Dei vs. Villa Park @ Ocean View HS, no time listed

Beverly Hills vs. Summitt @ Fontana HS, 7 p.m.

Woodbridge vs. Diamond Ranch @ Irvine HS, no time listed

Marlborough vs. Santa Margarita @ Tesoro HS, 6:30 p.m.

Foothill vs. Monrovia @ Segerstrom HS, no time listed

Muir vs. Inglewood @ Pasadena HS, 7 p.m.

Orange Lutheran vs. Rosary @ Servite HS, no time listed

Notre Dame vs. Bishop Montgomery, no time or location listed

St. Joseph vs. Valley Christian @ Gahr HS, no time listed

St. Bonaventure vs. Serra @ Ventura HS, no time listed

Windward vs. Harvard-Westlake @ Notre Dame HS, no time listed

J Serra vs. Pacific Hills @ Providence HS, no time listed

Link to page:

Two words: Yeah yuh!

It’s hard out here for a hoop head

City scores from last night:

Washington 51, El Camino Real 26
Fairfax 77, Carson 69
Taft 65, Westchester 54
Chatsworth 76, Dorsey 57

I bet the Fairfax-Carson game was a good one, because those two good teams are evenly matched.

Tomorrow night’s City Section semi-finals will both be at 7 p.m.:

Washington at Taft

Fairfax at Chatsworth

It’s harder to track down Southern Section games. For one thing, there are 12 divisions, and thus 12 spidery brackets – so much to keep track of. The Southern Section website doesn’t usually have updated scores on the brackets, but I wouldn’t know because I can’t open the spreadsheet on my PC. The LA Times is spotty at best, and is bad at best. All I know is that there haven’t been any major upsets yet. Mater Dei, Brea Olinda, Cajon, Foothill, Long Beach Poly – all the super-powered teams I’ve seen this season are all still in it. The question is, where? The next round is Saturday, so I’m sure some news hound will figure it out and put the info on

They better. Because regardless of the outcome of tomorrow night’s game (I’m going to the Prep-Taft rematch), I’ll be jonesing for another game like Tyrone the Crack Addict by Saturday night.

Junior colleges headed into the playoffs

Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges wrapped up their seasons last night, and the Division champs have been declared:


Z- Skagit Valley 15-0 1.000 23-1
X- Peninsula 12-3 .800 17-9
X- Whatcom 10-5 .667 14-9
X- Bellevue 9-6 .600 16-11
Everett 8-8 .500 9-17
Seattle 6-9 .400 7-18
Shoreline 4-11 .267 10-16
Olympic 4-11 .267 6-17
Edmonds 0-15 .000 0-22


Z- Yakima Valley 14-0 1.000 23-5
X- Walla Walla 9-5 .643 18-6
X- Treasure Valley 9-5 .643 15-11
X- Columbia Basin 9-5 .643 17-10
Spokane 8-6 .571 15-11
Big Bend 4-10 .286 14-13
Wenatchee Valley 2-12 .143 7-20
Blue Mountain 1-13 .071 3-20


Z- Centralia 14-1 .933 22-3
X- Lower Columbia 12-3 .800 15-11
X- Highline 10-5 .667 15-12
X- S. Puget Sound 9-6 .600 15-10
Grays Harbor 8-8 .500 8-15
Clark 7-8 .467 7-15
Tacoma 4-11 .267 8-17
Green River 4-11 .267 10-13
Pierce 0-15 .000 2-22


Z- Umpqua 13-1 .929 26-2
X- Lane 12-2 .857 23-5
X- Clackamas 10-4 .714 19-7
X- Mt. Hood 8-6 .571 16-11
Linn-Benton 5-9 .357 9-16
SW Oregon 4-10 .286 9-17
Chemeketa 4-10 .286 8-18
Portland 0-14 .000 3-19
Z- Division Champion
X- Clinched Playoff Berth

Umpqua and Lane had perhaps the most hyped game and fierce rivalry. Umpqua’s only league loss this year had been to Lane Jan. 21, and Lane had beat the Riverhawks nine games in a row, in a winning streak that dated back to 2004. Last night Umpqua needed the win to secure the league title, and during the first half it didn’t sound like they were going to get there.

I listened to the first half online at work while getting ready to go to my high school playoff game. The Riverhawks fell behind by as much as 16 points, and starting point guard and Los Angeles native Mykiea Russell got three quick (total BS calls – the refs were horrible) fouls and was sitting by, I wanna say, the 12-minute mark. Things were not going their way. Coach Dave Stricklin, upset by the bad officiating was T’d up for talking to the ref. Umpqua trailed 38-46 at the half, when I departed.

According to Umpqua’s hometown newspaper, the News Review, this is what happened in the second half:

While Roseburg High graduate Kristi Fallin scored a game-high 37 points and sank six 3-pointers, Scheffelmaier made two big hustle plays late. With her team leading 82-80, the sophomore recovered her own missed attempt and called a timeout from the floor with 30 seconds remaining.

“When you are on the floor you just have to call a timeout,” Scheffelmaier said. “I was taught that you’ve got to be smart when it comes down to the end and make the big plays.”

On the ensuing possession, Lane had to foul Miranda Holenstein, who knocked down both free throws with 20 seconds left in the game. On the next Titan possession, Sheena Cole dribbled the ball off her foot and Scheffelmaier dived for it, forcing a jump ball that gave UCC the possession arrow.

Scheffelmaier calmly sank two free throws to seal the victory against a school she wanted desperately to bring down.

Some great pictures on this link, too:

Regionals begin next week. Times have yet to be set, but I have sources that will keep me in the loop.

Teams of the National Junior College Athletic Association are still wrapping up regular season play. Current standings, as of last night, are here:

I emailed a rep of the California Community College Athletic Association last month about why the standings pages never work. He said I could go on each team’s page and see their record. I said no. They really need to get organized and have a more professional website like NWAACC and NJCAA.

Edit @ 10:30 a.m. Friday to add this link from Umpqua Coach Dave Stricklin’s blog:

I don’t know which part I like best – the picture, the fact that not one young woman on the team let up for a second, or that coach cares about his sophomores that much. A special place, Umpqua is. I will be rooting for them in the NWAACC championship.

Also, video game highlights:

Joanne Boyle in…..the Wall Street Journal?

Who knew? Nice piece:

WSJ: Eight years ago, you were nearly killed by a brain hemorrhage that left you unable to speak and move for days. How does that affect how you coach today?

Ms: Boyle: Everybody has things that happen in their life that are reality checks. That happened to me my last year at Duke, and it gave me the strength to actually leave Duke. Some people become very comfortable in their situations. We were going to the Final Four every year. I don’t know if I would’ve left my comfort zone if something like that wouldn’t have happened to me.

It was one of those things that, if you can survive that, who cares if you fail as a head coach?

As a coach, you really realize as you get older, as you get caught up in the wins and losses and succeeding and the fear of failure and move, move, move. Along the way, you miss the things that are put in our lives to really enjoy, and that’s the kids and the relationships. I’ve gotten much more at peace with just enjoying the process and the journey more so than the outcome.


Round 2 and 3 scores trickling in

Southern Section, round 3:

Brea 82, Valencia 43
Villa Park 73, Norco 68
Beverly Hills 66, Newbury Park 48
Diamond Ranch 54, Magnolia 43
Mira Costa 44, Buena Park 39
Inglewood 60, Barstow 48
Santa Monica 62, Chino Hills 48
Cajon 70, Lynwood 45

City Section, round 2:

Washington Prep 51, El Camino Real 26

I don’t know the Taft-Westchester score except that Taft won, and Prep and Taft will face each other at 7 p.m. Friday in a highly-anticipated re-match of a Dec. 12 game (reviewed in this blog) that Taft won by two points.

Things are getting good now.


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