Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb
LA HABRA – Whittier Christian High School knew all about Los Angeles Baptist’s quickness, athleticism and pressure defense.
That didn’t make stopping the Knights any easier Tuesday night.
Senior Monet McNally scored 26 points and had seven steals and L.A. Baptist forced 24 turnovers en route to a 68-56 victory over the host Heralds in an Olympic League girls basketball game.
The Knights, ranked No. 6 in CIF-Southern Section Division 4A, improved to 17-2 overall and 4-0 in league play. Los Angeles Baptist also got 10 points from Jaime Schuster and 16 rebounds and five points from Katelyn Ortiz.
Whittier Christian, getting 23 points from Angelina Arreola and 12 from Jaden Louie, slipped to 12-10 and 2-2. The Heralds are ranked No. 13 in Division 4A.
“Whatever we countered with, (McNally) is such a really good athlete and she was able to get her hand on the ball and create some easy layups for them,” Whittier Christian coach Richard Villeza said. “That was the key – our turnovers off their press and they got easy baskets with them.
“If you take that away, it’s a good game. But we couldn’t counter that.”
But the Heralds, who trailed by 10 points or more three times during the first half, gave it a pretty good try.
The key was Arreola, who got hot in the second half, scoring 16 of her 26 points during the final two quarters as Whittier Christian cut a 33-17 deficit near the end of the second quarter to 51-47 with just over seven minutes left in the game.
McNally sandwiched two free throws by Schuster with a 12-footer at 2:12 of the third quarter and a steal and layup at 1:18 to push the advantage to 10 at 51-41.
But the Heralds countered quickly.
Arreola, who was 4 of 7 from the 3-point line, hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in the quarter to trim it to 51-44 before scoring the first three points of the fourth as the Heralds pulled within 51-47 with 7:32 left.
The Knights recovered just as quickly, scoring five points in a 19-second stretch to go up 56-47 following a steal and layup by McNally with 6:23 left.
L.A. Baptist then sealed it following two free throws by Ortiz, a layup by Stacie Perez and an inside shot by McNally for a 66-49 edge with 3:32 left.
“It was just a little bit too much to overcome,” Villeza said. “We couldn’t get over that hump.
“We just have to get back to practice. The nice thing is we get them again and still have a chance to play some meaningful games. We just have to be ready when we play at their place.”
– Steve Ramirez
Montebello 47, Schurr 30
MONTEBELLO — It may only be the end of the first half of league play, but Montebello came up with a big win Tuesday night.
The Oilers, led by a game-high 21 points by senior guard Hector Martinez, defeated host Schurr, 47-30, in Almont league play.
Both teams came into the game with 2-2 league records, tied with Bell Gardens for third place.
“Putting the standings aside, I know this keeps us in the hunt, one game behind, and we control our own destiny, that’s all great,” Montebello coach Marino Angulo said. “But, anytime you play Schurr up here it’s always just a sweet win whenever you can get one.”
Neither team could muster much offense in the first quarter, but Montebello senior forward Adolfo Valadez scored all eight of his points in the second period and Martinez had six to give the Oilers a 20-16 halftime lead.
Senior forward Esai Orozco had five points for Schurr (6-14, 2-3), including a long 3-pointer. Junior guard Steve Ramirez hit a late 3-pointer to keep the Oilers close at the break.
But Montebello (6-15, 3-2) went on a 7-0 run early in the third period as Martinez scored nine points to give the Oilers a 31-19 lead. Schurr never recovered, scoring only seven points in the period.
Martinez and junior point guard Edgar Hernandez (four points) worked well together throughout the game, especially in the third period, to lead the Oilers to a 14-point lead heading into the final period.
“He (Martinez) has had a few good games and he’s our scorer and our go-to guy,” Angulo said.
Martinez was 5 for 6 at the free-throw line.
“It’s a big win for us, since we lost to Keppel last game and we knew we had to get a win,” Martinez said. “We had to come back and get a win, and no better win than our rival against Schurr.”
Montebello, which will host Schurr in the last game of the regular season, led 45-25 late in the game.
Schurr assistant coach Chris Dalley was filling in for head coach Rene Herrera, whose wife was about to deliver their first child Tuesday.
“It’s very tough,” Dalley said. “This was one game that we told our guys that how important it was and Montebello really came out and established the tempo and controlled the game for 32 minutes.”
Montebello begins the second half of league play against Bell Gardens on Friday. Schurr travels to San Gabriel.
– John Sherrard