By John Sherrard, Correspondent
LA HABRA – In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Whittier Christian High School girls basketball team advanced to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A playoffs for the second season in a row as the Heralds beat visiting Carpinteria 47-30 on Thursday night.
The Heralds (15-12), who lost seven seniors from last season’s squad, will travel to play second-seeded St. Monica, a 52-18 winner over St. Matthias of Downey, on Saturday at 7 p.m.
“I’m really proud of that (reaching the second round),” Whittier Christian coach Richard Villeza said. “We didn’t have one returning starter. The girls have come a long way.”
Leading the way for the Heralds was junior forward Sydney Lopez with a game-high 16 points and 15 rebounds. Junior guard Hannah Yoshihara had 12 points, including two 3-pointers.
Bethany Lugo led Carpinteria (12-13) with eight points.
“Sydney is our best-kept secret and she has really worked on her game,” Villeza said. “She was primarily a post player and we’ve taken her game to the outside.”
Whittier Christian, which last won a CIF-SS title in the 2007-08 season, held a slim 9-8 lead after one quarter behind seven points from Yoshihara.
However, it was all Lopez in the second quarter. The Heralds trailed for the only time in the game, 10-9, but she went on an 8-0 run, scoring four driving layups to give Whittier Christian a 17-10 halftime lead.