By Fred J. Robledo
The Bishop Amat high school girls basketball team is no longer the one being hunted, the Lancers are doing the hunting, a role they’re relishing for a change.
After knocking off fourth-seed Agoura two days earlier, the upset-march continued for the fifth-seed Lancers, knocking off top-seed Santa Margarita 58-48 on the road Saturday to advance to next Saturday’s CIF-State Division III Southern California Regional final at USC’s Galen Center against the winner between Inglewood and Mt. Miguel. (to continue, click thread).
Southern California Regional Semifinals
No. 4 Windward (25-8) at No. 1 El Cajon Foothills Christian (32-4), 7 p.m.
San Diego Maranatha Christian (24-9) vs. No. 2 La Verne Lutheran (25-8) at University of La Verne, 7 p.m.
Bishop Amat 58, Santa Margarita 48
No. 3 Inglewood (28-5) at No. 2 Spring Valley Mount Miguel (32-2), 7 p.m.
I will twitter updates from tonight’s Bishop Amat girls basketball game
After losing to Inglewood in the CIF-SS Division 3AA semifinals, the
Lancers (26-7) are back in familiar territory, especially for coach Richard
Wiard, who has the Lancers playing for another title after taking last year off for a sabbatical.
The Lancers are a game away from advancing to the state championship,
just a few years after they advanced to four straight state championships from 2004-07, winning state titles in 2005 and ’06
“I don’t want to say one (team) is more special than the other, we’re
not done yet,” Wiard said. “But we have been the underdog the last two games,
that does make it a little sweeter. Those other (championship years) we were
the number one seed and they were all gunning for us. It’s kind a nice to be
on the other end of that.”
Santa Margarita’s UC Santa Barbara-bound guard Melissa Zornig led all scorers with 28 points, but the Lancers limited the rest of the Division 3A champion Eagles (27-7) to little else, holding 6-foot-4 center
Elise Lorenz to just 12 points and three rebounds. No other Eagles player
scored more than four points.
Amat’s Leticia Galarza didn’t have Lorenz’s size, but she battled her
on the boards and offensively, put the ball on the floor and attacked the
basket, finishing with 15 points.
“The plan was to execute the weaknesses on the other team,” Galarza
said. “We knew their big was not going to be able to stay in front of me, so
coach said attack and go for it, so I did what I do best.”
Arielle Widemann finished with 15 points and eight rebounds and sophomore Gina Henderson came off the bench to lead the Lancers with 16 points, with both hitting clutch shots after a sluggish first half.
Amat trailed 8-7 after the first quarter and fell behind 16-11 in the
second quarter when they finally stopped launching long jumpers and started
attacking the paint to take a 24-22 lead at half.
They also out-rebounded the bigger Eagles, 26-19.
“The plan was to (attack), but they’re high school kids,” Wiard said.
“They’re going to be nervous, and when you get nervous you don’t always do
what you’re asked to do.
“But we did a much better job in the second half of following instructions. But you have to still execute, and we executed and made some great plays.”
Galarza’s 3-pointer and Henderson’s driving lay-up gave the Lancers a
29-24 lead, then Galarza finished a 3-point play with a free throw to make it
32-26 with 4:45 left in the third quarter.
With the clock winding down in the third, Henderson drained a huge
three with four seconds left to give the Lancers a 39-33 lead.
After Henderson cut through the lane and scored to make it 47-35 with
4:30 left, the Eagles called a timeout and put the game in Zornig’s hands.
She quickly nailed a 3-pointer, then scored and was fouled, hitting
her free throw to make it 47-41 with 3:41 left.
“She’s so good,” Wiard said of Zornig. “I blinked and our 12-point was down to six.”
Wideman answered, though, hitting a huge 12-foot jumper straigtaway
with the shot clock winding down, and another driving lay-up with 2:29 left to push the Lancers’ lead back to 51-41, quieting the Eagles’ fans.
“Someone always stepped up when they had to step up,” Wiard said.
“Gina, Arielle, they hit big shots and (Galarza) was huge on both ends of the
floor. I was pleased tonight, we beat a good team.”
626-962-8811, ext. 2161
Southern California Regional Semifinals
Bishop Amat 58, Santa Margartita 48
Bishop Amat 7 17 15 19 — 58
Santa Marga 8 14 11 15 — 48
Bishop Amat scoring: Gina Henderson 16, Arielle Wideman 15, Leticia Galarza
15, Andrea Villanueva 7, Vianai Austin 5
Santa Margarita Scoring: Melissa Zornig 28, Elise Lorenz 12, Denise Fernandez
4, Alexis Stamos 2.
Records: Bishop Amat 26-7; Santa Margarita 27-7.