Monday, November 19, 2018
Page 787

Southern Section scores, day one

Orange Lutheran 73, El Segundo 46
Gahr 74, La Quinta 53
Troy 57, Jordan 29
JSerra Catholic 62, Estancia 20
Huntington Beach 68, Kaiser 47
Segerstrom 43, Loara 26
Marina 60, Mission Viejo 52
Northwood 52, Garden Grove 49
Orangewood Academy 49, Hillcrest Christian/Granada Hills 17
Rancho Alamitos 61, Pacifica 43
Rosary 83, Godinez 28
University 62, Saddleback 25
Santa Margarita 63, Savanna 38
Edison 59, Sunny Hills 27
Great Oak 72, Tesoro 41
El Dorado 66, Westminster 46
El Toro 50, Righetti 30
Cypress 53, Mayfair 36
Esperanza 68, California 43
Valencia 72, Burroughs 54
Canyon 60, Palm Springs 23
Calvary Chapel/Santa Ana 46, Whitney 35
Brea Olinda 88, La Serna 14
Irvine 49, Palm Desert 41
Fullerton 49, Rowland 20
Royal 54, Century 33
Katella 60, Serrano 25
Villa Park 69, Simi Valley 32
Laguna Hills 47, South Torrance 37
Valley Christian/Cerritos at Sage Hill Sonora 61, Wilson/Hacienda Heights 41
Westridge 68, Fairmont Prep 36
Saddleback Valley Christian 57, Crean Lutheran South 22
Knight 70 Hesperia 33
LB Millikan 68 Quartz Hill 55
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 56 Littlerock 31
Wilson 67, Schurr 55
Millikan 68, Quartz Hill 55
Poly 65, Paramount 15

Check this blog out:

City Section starts tomorrow! Like the Jackson Five, I’ll be there.

Tales of two Bruins

Very moving piece on the ways center Moniquee Alexander coped with the death of her mother to breast cancer when she was 11 years old:

Coach Nikki Caldwell proved to be a confidant for Alexander right after they met:

“She’s positive and humbled by it,” Caldwell said. “She has such an amazing heart. She has a gentle soul in that big body of her’s.”

Then there’s today’s story in the Daily Bruin (bless that newspaper for all the coverage they’ve given the team) about reserve guard Allison Taka. Under the former coach, Taka sat on the bench, and as a result, lost all her confidence. Caldwell and her teammates have helped restore that:

In that meeting, Taka said she made it clear to her new head coach that she was concerned with the apparent lack of a role she had on the team. Caldwell, however, was quick to soothe those concerns, falling back on what has become a team mantra over the course of a season.
“She did have concerns,” Caldwell said. “Our meeting was about her getting to know what my expectations were of her. I wasn’t basing those expectations on anything except what we’ve seen this year.”

“I told her minutes are going to be earned, never given, and she’s earned it.”

Taka now comes off the bench regularly and is relied on to hit shots from the outside, provide an energy boost and challenge opponents defensively. It is a role reversal that has taken some time to get used to. Coaches and teammates have all made an effort to help Taka establish confidence in her playing ability, something the guard says has been difficult.

“It’s taken me awhile to start believing in myself, to really grasp that everyone was important, from the starters to the bench players,” Taka said. “It’s still hard for me to grasp that I actually have an important role.”

Now that’s awesome.


McDonald’s All-American teams picked

No surprises on either roster. And there are several other players who could have made this roster as well, except for the amount of talent in this class. The quality of the game is rising on every level.

The game is April 1 in Miami.

Link to McDonald’s site:

“Lost” season at Rutgers

This is a sad piece, featuring an interview with Rutgers senior Heather Zurich, whose senior year has been marked by sadness and frustration:

Mike Flynn of Bluestar Basketball bets that there will be a “mass exodus” of players leaving the Scarlet Knight program at the end of the year, in the last post on this thread:


Sparks to hold open tryouts

I don’t know if this is a publicity stunt or not. I mean, do they really expect to get a player off the streets with so much unused talent in the WNBA, i.e. at least two teams worth of players who got cut last year? Also, with the new 11-player limit this year?


And who’s Angela Bryant?

February Madness: it’s on like donkey kong!

City Section bracket here:

For the Southern Section, go to this page:

Under the sports tab hit ‘basketball,’ ‘girls basketball’ and then ‘playoff brackets.’ There are multiple spread sheets with brackets in all divisions.

City Section playoffs start Friday, and Southern Section games begin tomorrow.

I’m so excited!!!! This is my favorite time of year, the next six weeks.

Shekinna Stricklen is tough as hell

The girl dislocated her kneecap in Thursday’s game. Got therapy after that, and according to Knoxville-based reporter Maria Cornelius, she practiced today and didn’t even have a limp. She’s going to play in tomorrow’s game against Duke:

Tennessee Lady Vols’ guard Shekinna Stricklen took part in Sunday’s practice and will play against 4th ranked Duke Monday night.
Stricklen hit her knee in a collision in the Alabama game and was carried from the floor. When she returned on crutches, her right leg was iced.
Associate Athletic Director Jenny Moshak said Stricklen was cleared completely for practice and to play after responding well to rehab on the injury.
Stricklen leads the Lady Vols in scoring at 13.2 points per game.

Link:’m bowled over.
Stricklen had already crawled into my heart with her own lion-sized heart, chest thumping and bumping ways, fearlessness and offensive prowess. This latest warp-speed recovery indicates just how much she wants to play, and so it has locked her into my heart solidly, for the next four years.
I should probably go look for some pictures of the girl now. I’m going to need them.

What’s up in the land of Troy??

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Sophomore forward Ify Ibekwe tallied a career-high 27 points to lead an impressive offensive effort as Arizona posted a 74-61 win over host USC, Sunday afternoon in Pac-10 play at the Galen Center.

Two days ago, Arizona shot a season-low 22 percent from the field and tallied just 39 points in a 19-point loss to UCLA. Fast forward a little less than 72 hours and the Wildcats turned those numbers completely around.

Arizona scorched the nets for a season-best .605 shooting percentage, connecting on 26-of-43 field goals. The Wildcats also tallied their second highest point total of the season and most since recording 71 against the Trojans at McKale Center exactly one month ago.

The shooting numbers were in stark contrast to a pair of other columns on the stat sheet. The Wildcats were outrebounded, 43-33, and allowed a staggering 30 boards on the offensive end to the Trojans. Arizona also committed 28 turnovers that led to 27 USC points.

Poor shooting by USC turned the tables for the Wildcats as the Trojans were a woeful 24-of-82 (.293) from the field and 9-of-37 (.243) from three-point range. The Trojans also committed 21 turnovers and the Wildcats were efficient in creating 24 points off of those miscues.

A 5-for-5 start by Ify Ibekwe highlighted a 12-for-14 (.857) opening 15 minutes of play as the Wildcats built a 26-19 lead. Despite committing eight turnovers during that stretch, the Wildcats forced 11 giveaways and limited USC to a 7-for-24 (.292) clip.

The Wildcats used a 10-0 run to build a 30-19 lead over a 3:44 stretch. Ibekwe connected on the first two buckets, then added the final two points of the stretch while USC committed six turnovers and missed seven-straight shots before a jumper by Ashley Corral at the 2:35 mark broke the run.

Any momentum the Wildcats carried with their 32-26 halftime lead was gone within the opening 3:04 of the second half. Arizona committed four early turnovers, made just 1-of-3 shots and allowed USC to two more offensive rebounds to produce a 9-2 start and a 35-34 lead for the Trojans.

A tongue-lashing from head coach Niya Butts woke the Wildcats up and produced a quick response. Courtney Clements drilled a three-ball in the corner, then Ibekwe produced a steal and a conventional three-point play to regain a 40-35 cushion.

A jumper by Nadia Parker at the 14:38 mark drew the Trojans within a bucket at 43-41, but the Wildcats seized control of the game to build a lead they would not relinquish. Amina Njonkou drove the lane for a scooping lay-up that sparked a game-clinching 11-0 scoring run over the next 4:52. Ashley Frazier finished off the run with a transition lay-up as the Wildcats eventually stretched the lead to as much as 18 and never let the lead slip below double digits.

Ibekwe hit 10-of-14 field goal attempts and all seven of her free throws while also pulling down eight rebounds and grabbing three steals. Frazier, Clements and Njonkou each had 12 points while Faihza Hill had nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Heather Oliver tallied 15 points to lead USC (12-11, 6-6), but they all came down the stretch after the Cats had put the game away. Brynn Cameron tallied 13 points while Nadia Parker had 9 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Arizona (10-14, 3-10) returns home for a three-game homestand, starting on Saturday, February 21 against in-state rival Arizona State with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.

Though I’m happy for Arizona, I’m shocked that USC let another one slip through its fingers. They are now 12-11 and 6-6 in the Pac-10.

Supporters of Coach Mark Trakh will point to the number of injuries team members have sustained over the last several years as to why the Trojans always seem to underachieve. Mark Trakh critics will point to the other NCAA teams (Cal, Tennessee, etc) which see significant player injuries but still keep rolling on to wins.

Is it bad player rotation by the coach into the game? Is it mental collapses on the court? What is it?? And what should be done about it??

In other shocks, North Carolina State beat #15 Virginia on this final day of breast cancer awareness weekend; I suppose that was fitting.

Unranked LSU beat #11 Florida, and Maryland whooped Rutgers, 67-47 (the Scarlet Knights is another case where I wonder what is going on).

Arizona State 69, UCLA 66

Going backwards through today’s game, from the top: Coach Nikki Caldwell conducts her post-game interview; the team’s energy is high breaking from a timeout in the final minute; there is a lot of pink on the floor on both sides (pictures 2 and 3); UCLA bench in pink.

They tried. They really did. And they almost had them. If Doreena Campbell had hit that second free throw, and if the ref hadn’t made that phony call right afterwards…….but what ifs aren’t worth much.

I liked the energy I saw today on the court. They believe they could do it, and they almost did. With every game, the Bruins get closer and closer to that 40-minute game their coaches want them to have. They’re taking big steps.

Weird: ASU shot about 65 percent in the first half and 35 percent in the second. UCLA shot about 35 in the first half and 65 in the second.

Here’s the story off the UCLA site:
Los Angeles, CA – UCLA was edged out in the final minute against Arizona State and fell to the Sun Devils by a 69-66 count. The Bruins had a chance to tie the game with 4.6 seconds left but missed the second of two foul shots. Erica Tukiainen led four Bruins in double-digit scoring with 17 points.
UCLA missed six of its first seven shot attempts in the contest and fell behind 11-2 at the 15:54 mark. The Bruins recovered from the sluggish start and trimmed a 10-point deficit to just three, 20-17 at the 10:04 mark, with an 11-4 run. However, the Sun Devils answered with eight straight points to take a 28-17 lead with 8:32 remaining in the first half. UCLA never got closer than seven points the rest of the half, and ASU took a 37-27 advantage into the locker room at the break. Arizona State scored 19 of its points off of 13 UCLA turnovers. The Sun Devils converted 16 of 25 first-half shots for a 64 percent shooting percentage.ASU senior guard Briann January led all scorers at the half with 10 points, hitting all four of her field goal attempts.
UCLA opened the second half by connecting on three of its first five shots and sliced the ASU lead to 39-36 on a pair of free throws by freshman guard Atonye Nyingifa at the 13:56 mark. Nyingifa scored the Bruins’ last basket of the first half and seven of the UCLA’s first nine second-half points. The Bruins closed to within one-point, 42-41 on a basket and free throw by Tukiainen at the 12:06 mark. The Bruins took their first lead in the contest, 54-53, on a lay-in by junior center Moniquee Alexander with 5:38 to play.
After four lead changes, Tukiainen’s three-point shot made the score 62-61 ASU with 1:57 to play. Sybil Dosty rebounded a January missed three-pointer and layed it in for a 64-61 Sun Devil advantage with 1:38 on the clock. Dymond Simon then made one of two free throws for a 65-61 ASU lead with 57 seconds to play. Alexander’s rebound basket with 42 seconds to play cut the lead to two points. After January was called for an offensive foul, Doreena Campbell drove to the basket for a layup with 29 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 65. After a pair of free throws by Simon gave the Sun Devils the lead back, Campbell was fouled by Dosty and went to the line with 4.6 seconds remaining to try to force overtime. The Bruin sophomore made the first but missed the second, and ASU’s Becca Tobin grabbed the rebound. UCLA fouled Simon with 0.6 remaining, and Simon drained both foul shots to provide the final margin of victory.
Tukiainen led UCLA with 17 points. Campbell added 15 points with six assists, Nyingifa scored a career-high 13 points with seven rebounds, and Alexander had 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and five rebounds, all offensive. January scored 21 points for ASU, and Simon joined her in double figures with 19 as the Sun Devils won their school record 11th consecutive game.
“We got back into the game with our defense,” said UCLA head coach Nikki Caldwell. “We did a good job in limiting their opportunities. It was a good team effort to stay in it and get back into the game with potentially the opportunity to go into overtime.”
Saturday’s game was a special breast cancer awareness game. UCLA wore white and pink uniforms, while Arizona State wore pink uniforms for the occasion. UCLA’s jerseys will be auctioned off on, with proceeds to be divided between the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center and the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Education & Resource Center.
It was really something to see so much pink at Pauley Pavilion today, both on the players and in the audience. An interview with Bruin center Moniquee Alexander was played at halftime, where she talked about her mother’s battle with breast cancer and her passing. It was quite moving.
I just wish all of our yelling today could have cheered the coaches, because at least one seemed more upset than the players after they came out of the locker room.
Celebrity sighting: Sparks General Manager Penny Toler, who was sitting in the section across from ours.

Inglewood Sentinels 54, Mira Costa Mustangs 43

The Inglewood Sentinels haven’t had many game challenges lately, as their schedule the last several weeks has been mostly blowouts. But they got one last night in the Mira Costa Mustangs, who kept it close until only the last four minutes of the game on Inglewood’s home floor.

The Sentinels got off to a fast start in the first, on the strength of the scoring of Oregon State University signee Tayler Champion and Renee Golliday. But Mira Costa battled back behind their star players Jasmine Rutledge and Amanda Johnson. The Sentinels lead 22-18 at the end of the period.

Playing a 1-3-1 defense, the Mustangs clamped down in the second quarter, and Inglewood began turning over the ball. Rutledge again lead the scoring attack, and her team was up 27-26 at the 3:42 mark. But when Mira Costa changed to a loose 2-3 zone, Inglewood seemed to suddenly realize they could attack the basket, and they did, drawing a foul. The half ended with the Sentinels up 31-30.

The home team began to pull away in the third, but with just over three minutes left, the Mustangs fought back. A long three by Johnson cut Inglewood’s lead to 39-35, and Rutledge’s crazy-good shot cut it even further, ending the period 39-37.

In the fourth quarter, the Sentinels put their foot on the gas pedal and took control. They had built an eight-point lead by 3:22, when Hazel Ramirez threw up a wild shot which went in as she was fouled. On the other end, Rutledge’s shot was blocked, but incredibly, she caught the deflected ball. Yet her second attempt didn’t go in and the ball went into Sentinel hands, enabling them to continue their attack. The score was 54-40 with 1:24 left, and only Kylie Nakamine scored – a three – for the Mustangs before time expired.

Mira Costa has excellent ball movement. Team members always seem to know where the others will be when they’re running a play or just winging it. Inglewood’s strength is in their athleticism, which is likely why they played man defense all night.

Rutledge finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Johnson put up 14. As of right now, Inglewood coaches have not yet put up game stats for their team on maxpreps.

This game was interesting in an “it’s a small basketball world” kind of way, too.

For one, Inglewood reserve guard Brionne Brister is Sparks center Lisa Leslie’s niece, and Leslie comes to most games, fans said. (She wasn’t there last night because she is reportedly attending the NBA All-Star game this weekend). Leslie’s younger sister also attends Inglewood games, and was sitting behind the bench last night.

Three USC players walked into the game during the second quarter and took seats in the bleachers. I recognized Hailey Dunham, and I think the second one was Aarika Hughes. I couldn’t get a good glimpse at the third player. But after the game, Rutledge – a junior – ran across the court to say hi to the Trojan players, and all four stood there for a moment, laughing and talking.

USC Coach Mark Trakh’s detractors aside, he does seem to have a knack for recruiting.

Sentinel fans said Coach Tony Scott disappeared from the bench for a while after the forfeits were announced in January. He is back now, in an assistant coach role. But he is still pretty much the only coach standing and yelling directions at the team during play, though his seat is on the end of the bench. So perhaps the assistant coach job is in name only.

Here’s the Inglewood bench last night: Scott is standing, at the right. Leslie’s niece is the second player in on the left. Leslie’s sister is wearing the red shirt behind the bench.

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