CIF-SS GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
Bonita 55, M.L. King 32
Great Oak 50, Bishop Amat 45
Bonita at Great Oak, 7 p.m.
By Fred J. Robledo
LA PUENTE — Bishop Amat’s girls basketball team played as well as it could defensively against Temecula Great Oak’s 5-foot-10 Roya Rustamzada and 6-foot-1 center Mikayla Williams, but going nearly 11 minutes without a field goal in the second half sealed its fate against the Wolfpack, falling 50-45 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA quarterfinals on Saturday.
Bishop Amat was trying to do its part to set up an all-area semifinal against top-seed Bonita, who crushed M.L. King 55-32, but instead finishes the season 23-7 after reaching the divisional title game last year.
“They were big, very big, and they were taller at every position than us,” Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard said. “And sometimes significantly taller, and skilled, that makes it tough.”
Amat rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to take a 36-33 lead with with 3:08 left in the third quarter, but the Lancers didn’t score another field goal until Dagmar Ramirez’s lay-up with 22 seconds left when the game already was out of reach.
“I thought we were playing pretty good defensively and there weren’t a lot of possessions in there because we were making them take a lot of time on offense,” Wiard said. “But every time we missed it kind of got magnified and the misses added up.
“We certainly had the opportunities, but we let them get the last four points of the third quarter (to trail 40-36) and those two plays hurt.”
Great Oak (22-4) will host Bonita (28-2) in Tuesday’s semifinal at 7 p.m.
Bonita got a game-high 20 points from guard Nikki Wheatley and Kandyce Smith chipped in with 17 points to pace the Bearcats.
Bearcats coach Darren Baumunk was pleased with the easy victory and got a scouting report on Great Oak by watching them earlier in the season.
“I don’t think they (Great Oak) have anyone who can go one-on-one with Nikki,” Baumunk said. “They have some size, they’re athletic, but I like our chances, I really do.”
Bishop Amat’s Paulina Santana had the hot hand, finishing with a game-high 22 points and it was her 3-pointer that helped the Lancers take a 34-33 lead in the third.
Dagmar Ramirez finished with nine points and Janae Chamois finished with nine, but the Lancers couldn’t create enough offense to stay with Williams, who finished with 21 points and Rustamzada, who finished with 17.
“Paulina was good in the first half, but the second half we just missed shots, maybe that was fatigue but you’re not going to make every shot, they’re high school girls,” Wiard said.
Rustamzada, in particular, was tough to guard, scoring inside and behind the arc.
“She’s (Rustamzada) a college player, I talked to their coach and she’s going to Point Loma,” Wiard said. “The other girl (Williams) is one of the best in Riverside County. Not only were they good, but they were skilled. Often big kids are kind of clumsy but those two kids weren’t clumsy, they could score.”
WEDNESDAY’S SECOND ROUND
Bonita 63, Rancho Cucamonga 52
Bishop Amat 44, Arcadia 33
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No. 1 Bonita wins again: It started off as a routine, comfortable second-round playoff victory for the No. 1 seed.
In the end, it was neither routine, nor comfortable.
After trailing by as many as 22 points in the second quarter, Rancho Cucamonga got as close as three points before Bonita held on for a 63-52 victory in a CIF-SS Division 1AA contest on Wednesday night at Bonita High School.
BISHOP AMAT 44, ARCADIA 33
LA PUENTE — Bishop Amat High School may have been down, but the Lancers are rarely out as they showed once again on Wednesday.
Elisa Bicera scored 11 points and host Bishop Amat held Arcadia to two points in the fourth quarter en route to a 44-33 victory over the Apaches in a CIF-Southern Section Division IAA girls basketball second-round game.
The Lancers, the division’s No. 5 seed, improved to 22-7 and will face either San Clemente or Great Oak, of Temecula, in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Bishop Amat also received eight points from Dagmar Ramirez and seven each from Janae Chamois and Amanda Alvarado.
Arcadia, which upset No. 12 seed Summit in the first round, finished 19-9. Katie Mock led the Apaches with 11 points. Caira Benton had six points.
Amat, getting a 3-pointer by Alvarado and a key steal and layup by Chamois, closed the game with a 19-2 run over the final 10 minutes to advance.
Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard: “We have a pretty experienced team. I don’t think we were panicing. Maybe we were a little nervous (in the third quarter) when we were dropping all those (passes). But we calmed down and made some big shots. Elisa Bicera hit a huge three, Amanda Alvarado hit a huge three, Jurhandi Molinda had a bucket in there, so those kids really stepped up off the bench. They are not normally our scorers, but they were big tonight.”
Arcadia coach Adam Conover: “There was lack of focus on our end. There were things we did that we had never done before. When we do stuff like that, it’s going to hurt us.”
Bishop Amat’s Elisa Bicera: “We didn’t panic. We just took care of business, moved the ball, did what we were supposed to do on defense and played as a team.”
— Stephen Ramirez, @SteveRRamirez on Twitter