For the 13th year in a row, Cajon’s girls basketball won the Cal State San Bernardino Tournament. The tournament was last weekend and Cajon defeated Riverside Poly 80-20, South El Monte 64-35, Serrano 65-35 and Hillcrest 56-21 to win the tournament. Included on the team are 3 returning all-county players: Player of the Year Kayla Washington as well as first-team players Tyra and Tyla Turner. Returning players Dezarae Embry, Jada Johnson and Haylee Saurette along with newcomers Deja McBath, Haylee Howard-Radde and Adriana Teque were part of the team.
I didn’t put together full highlights of Tuesday’s 46-40 overtime game, won by host and No. 1 seed Ventura over No. 5 Cajon. But I wanted to post this. It shows the chance Ventura had to put the game away, up by one (and facing a one-and-one) with 7.8 seconds left.
Then a chance for Cajon to win before Tyla Turner is fouled with 2.2 seconds to play, keeping her from getting a shot off, but enabling her to go to the line. She missed the first, then made the one she really needed, the second. She then nearly had a steal on the inbounds pass, but the inbounder stepped in and denied a shot as time expired. In overtime, Cajon ran out of gas (and personnel) and lost, ending a great season.
Cajon 6-foot junior Kayla Washington, above, had 39 points and 28 rebounds (although Cajon had her for 35 rebounds) and I believe four blocked shots. She was impressive. She owned the boards, despite the fact that Torrey Pines has a 6-3 junior in Sierra Campisano. Washington is a much better rebounder than Campisano and while Cajon made Campisano work for her 26 points, Torrey Pines couldn’t get a body on Washington.
Seldom have I seen coach Mark Lehman above, as happy with a performance (in a game I covered) as he was on Wednesday. He still wasn’t completely satisfied with the defense on Campisano. He felt his team didn’t deny her the ball enough. But Washington’s play as well as the play of Tyla and Tyra Turner made for an impressive 81-51 victory.
Cajon girls basketball coach Mark Lehman was surprised when he found out his team was picked for the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs.
Should he have been?
Absolutely. Considering his team was ranked fifth in Division 1A entering the season’s final week, the Open Division took only one of the teams ranked ahead of Cajon in Division 1A, Riverside North.
Entering the week, 3 Division 1A teams were on the Open Division Watch List: Riverside North, Fullerton Troy and Cajon. North was ranked No. 1 in 1A, and got the 16 seed in the Open Division. Cajon was No. 5 in 1A, and got the 15 seed. Troy was ranked No. 3 and didn’t get in, and is the No. 2 seed in 1A.
I realize that Cajon had a big win, beating Eisenhower, which had given Cajon its only loss in the teams’ first meeting. Yet no one else above them in 1A lost during the final week. So, how is Cajon the No. 5 team in 1A according to that division’s pollsters entering the week, then essentially the No. 1 team (highest Open Division seed) just a week later?
I cannot recall a week with two games as crazy as the ones I had this week.
First, there was Redlands East Valley’s 5-4, 5 overtime win over Yucaipa in girls water polo on Tuesday.
Then came Thursday, when Eisenhower girls basketball rallied from 9 points down in the final 9.3 seconds to force overtime, before falling to Cajon, 65-57.
I have never seen a 5 overtime game in water polo, and neither had anyone I talked to at the game. And scoring 9 points in the final 9.3 seconds to force overtime? It just doesn’t happen.
But what makes these games remarkable beyond that is that both games had Citrus Belt League titles at stake at the end of the season. In the first case, REV won the CBL title outright, its sixth straight title with the marathon win. In the latter, Cajon earned a share of the CBL title by knocking off Eisenhower. In each case, none of the four teams had lost to anyone else in league. And they were all ranked in CIF-SS.
Those were two games what show why I love high school sports. In both cases, great fan atmosphere, two closely matched teams and two games in which there was a big mental aspect. in the first case, REV fought through fatigue to finally win. In the second case, Cajon fought through the embarrassment of squandering a big lead and recovered to win in overtime.
You’ll see above one of the craziest comebacks in a short period of time, with Eisenhower trailing by 9 and tying it on two 3-pointers by Delilah Cerda, and then a steal and a layup by Allyah George as time expired. A foul was called, and the free throw tied the score and sent it to OT.
I have never seen 9 points in less than 10 seconds to send the game to OT. Of course, it was a combination of Ike’s great plays and Cajon making some poor decisions.
Ike didn’t have enough left in OT and Long Beach State-bound Aaryon Green suffered from leg cramps and Cajon took advantage.