Sierra Vista squeaks by
By Fred J. Robledo
Feeding off a rowdy home crowd, the Monrovia High School girls basketball team nearly knocked off a league champion for the second consecutive time in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3A playoffs, but eighth-seed Sierra Vista held on for a 47-46 second-round victory on Saturday.
Above: Sierra Vista High School’s Dakota Fabro (22) ,left, celebrates with Stephanie Franco (55) as Sierra Vista beat Monrovia.
Tonight’s CIF-SS Second Round
All games at 7 p.m.
Diamond Ranch 58, Moorpark 24
Bishop Amat 68, Cerritos 22
Sierra Vista 47, Monrovia 46
Bonita 58, Gahr 36
Citrus Hill 72, South Hills 55
Harvard-Westlake 76, St. Lucy’s 54
Orange Lutheran 53, Northview 30
Senior Dakota Fabro finished with a team-high 13 points and hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1:04 left to send the Dons (21-5) to Wednesday’s quarterfinals against either top-seed Santa Margarita or West Torrance.
Monrovia’s Maryssa Black, who also finished with 13 points, sank a pair of free throws to give the Wildcats a 46-44 lead with 1:27 left.
But Fabro answered with a clutch 3-pointer from the corner, and the Dons held on during a wild final minute.
“It was so nerve racking,” Fabro said. “I was hoping to God it would go in. It was just an unbelievable game, we all played our hearts out.”
September Offutt finished with nine points for the Wildcats and had a chance to put them back in front with 27 seconds left, but she missed the front end of a one-and-one, though the Wildcats got it back.
Wildcats forward Ashley Cook (12 points) grabbed the rebound, but her go-ahead attempt bounced off the front of the rim and over the backboard with 18 seconds left, giving the ball back to the Dons, still clinging to a one-point lead.
But after the Dons inbounded the ball, Monrovia didn’t foul immediately, allowing the Dons to run the clock down to 2.3 seconds before fouling. With a foul to give, Sierra Vista inbounded it again, and were fouled.
After Estrella Rivera missed her free throw, the clock ran out before the Wildcats could get off a shot.
Monrovia (12-17), which had knocked off Mission Valley League champ Rosemead 51-48 in the first round, were hoping to avenge a 62-45 loss to Sierra Vista during an Arroyo tournament game in December.
“We found a way to get it done,” Sierra Vista coach Keith Locklear said. “In life you’re not always going to be at your best. Monrovia played close to their best but we scrapped and got it done.”
Locklear said winning earlier in the year (against Monrovia) combined with the Wildcats’ newfound energy stemming from its home fans played key roles.
“You have to give them a lot of credit, that was quite an atmosphere they had going on tonight,” Locklear said. “Plus I’m a guy who’s always trying to frame a game, and when you blow a team out the first time, how do you do that? What’s the carrot? How can I twist the knife to get the kids motivated?
“I didn’t do a very good job of it, but that’s why you give Monrovia credit, anytime you can turn the tables on a team that beat you soundly the first time is a big accomplishment on their part.”
Crystal Avila scored nine big points inside and Valeria Rivera finished with eight points, but it was the Dons’ composure in the fourth that Locklear was most proud of.
“They (players) were telling me all night they couldn’t hear me, so they really had to rely on each other,” Locklear said. “In that fourth quarter they pulled together as a team and got it done.”