By Eric Terrazas, SGVN
MONTEBELLO – El Rancho High School’s last-minute comeback fell just short in a 57-55 loss to Rialto in Thursday’s quarterfinals of the Cardinal Classic girls basketball tournament hosted by Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary.
The Dons (12-2), trailing 57-50, scored five consecutive points. El Rancho had one last possession with 12.5 seconds remaining in regulation, but Rialto’s Brittany Neely secured the Knights’ victory by grabbing a defensive rebound off El Rancho’s game-tying attempt.
The 1-2 punch of Patty Ayala and Khadidja Diakite paced the Dons. Ayala scored a game-high 25 points while Diakite had 22.
El Rancho will play a consolation game today against Cantwell at 5:30 p.m. Cantwell fell to Bishop Montgomery in another quarterfinal.
Thursday’s meeting marked El Rancho’s second game against Rialto this season. At last week’s Las Vegas Tournament, the Dons defeated Rialto 57-47 in the semifinals. El Rancho went on to capture first place in that tournament with a 53-48 triumph over Castlemont.
“We played them in Vegas.” El Rancho coach Randy Shigezane said. “We were familiar with them and they were familiar with us. It was one of those things; it’s hard to beat a team twice in a week. We did our best. We played pretty well. We just came up two points short.
“We didn’t make enough shots and Rialto is very tough.”
Miya Arrington led Rialto with 19 points. Neely had 18.