By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Workman High freshman Leslie Rivera went nuts in the fourth quarter to help the Lobos pull off a comeback thriller over undefeated Duarte in front of packed house that never stopped shouting on Friday.
Rivera scored 15 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter to help Workman rally past Duarte 77-68 to snap the two-time Montview League champions 39-game league winning streak.
Workman improved to 18-4 and 9-0 while the Falcons dropped to 17-1 and 7-1.
Rivera is one of three super freshman that start for the Lobos. Freshman combo guard Alize Williams finished with 18 points and sophomore sharpshooter Denise Gonzalez finished with a team high 24 points.
Duarte led 58-51 going into the fourth, but Rivera opened the quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers, then got a steal and layup to give the Falcons a 59-58 lead. (click to continue reading)
Workman trailed by as many as 15 points midway through the third.
“I wanted to take her (Rivera) out because she was so tired,” Workman coach Joe Oronez said. “But she said, ‘no coach, no coach.’ What a warrior. She wouldn’t let me take her out.”
Oronez then looked at his group and kept talking.
“They’ve shown me so much for being so young,” Oronez said. “With all the intensity in the crowd and the adversity of falling behind they never got down, they never gave up. They’re a bunch of young, level-headed players that usually don’t play with a lot of emotion. But today they let it out.”
There was a reason for Workman’s quick turnaround.
Duarte’s Imari Brown did everything she could to will Duarte to victory, but all she could do was fight back tears after fouling out early in the fourth quarter seconds after checking back in.
How important is to the two-time league MVP?
When Brown picked up her fourth foul with 2:08 left in the third, Duarte had a 12-point lead and Brown had 33 points.
When Brown returned with 6:45 left, the Falcons were trailing by one after the Lobos’ 13-0 run while she sat.
After she fouled out seconds after checking back in, Workman coasted to the finish line.
Brown, who came in averaging 28 points, 12 rebounds, nine steals and eight assists, had 13 rebounds to go with her game-high 33 points.
“That’s a good Duarte team,” Oronez said. “If Imari doesn’t foul out it’s a whole different ballgame. She tore us up, she just tore us up. We know it’s a different game without her.”
Duarte’s Kathy McKiernan had 17 points and Tylen Kelley and Mackenzie Barnes had 10 apiece.
On Monday, Workman travels to face Duarte in a rematch at 6 p.m.
“I’m disappointed with the refs, we played against six on the court,” Falcons coach Mark Smith said. “But that’s how it goes. I’m not worried about our first loss, it’s about how we react now. I’m not even thinking about the rematch, I’m just thinking about us playing our game. Everything else will take care of itself.”