(Lakewood) – St. Joseph used a 15-0 run from late in the first quarter to early in the second to open up a 14 point lead and never relinquished it in a 50-40 win over La Canada Saturday night in the Division 3A CIF Semi Finals.
La Canada led 5-4 in the second quarter when St. Joseph reeled off the next 15 points to take a 19-5 lead. The Jesters never looked back. The closest La Canada got was six points in the fourth quarter but the Lady Spartans were never able to get over the hump.
St. Joseph still led 27-15 at the half as the Lady Spartans had trouble getting anything going offensively. Lauren Hong had 14 of St. Joseph’s 27 including eight in the second quarter.
“We were oh for 10 going into halftme from three so even if two or three of those fall it’s a different game,” said La Canada Coach Tamar Hill. “So the shots not falling early hurt us but we made a great surge and the kids are fighters. They really wanted it.”
La Canada did make a surge but it didnt happen until the fourth quarter. The Lady Spartans were outscored 13-11 in the third quarter and entered the final frame down 40-26.
A quick 10-2 run to open the quarter got LC right back in the hunt. Courtney Chen scored three buckets and had eight in the fourth to lead the charge. Her basket with 3:21 left cut the lead to 42-36. St. Joseph responded with a couple of stops and Michelle Pennala and Jazmine Gandhi each connected from the field and the Jesters had enough to hold on.
Chen was the leading scorer for La Canada with 16 points with half of those coming in the fourth quarter. Amber Graves, only a freshman, was effective down on the block scoring 12 points.
“Amber did a good job, maybe the best of all of them and she’s just a freshman,” Hill said. “But turnovers really hurt us. Our whole halfitime mantra was you need to keep the ball in order to score. But you know they’re just kids and they worked really hard. They came really far.”
For St. Joseph, Hong took scoring honors with 20. Gandhi scored 11 and Pennala and Dominique Culhno each scored seven.
La Canada knocked off El Monte and Santa Margarita and to reach the semi finals. The Lady Spartans finished 20-9 overall.
LC 5 10 11 14 40
SJ 15 12 13 10 50