The Avalon Lady Lancers had a remarkable year after coming off the pandemic. The uncertainty of being able to play indoors, the fact that all sports would be playing at the same time meant some girls would play 3 sports and still keep up their studies was stressful for all. But these young ladies did it and with little practice time was able to produce a season to remember.
The Lady Lancers would be playing in a new league and never competed against or have seen these teams. Through teamwork and sheer willingness, they would start the league 6-0. Only to play back to back games against their hardest opponent for league championship, Pacifica Christian.
In the first game Pacifica Christian showed why they were the favorites to win by beating Avalon 66-38. Two days later Avalon made adjustments, competed hard, but would lose league by 6 points, 54-48.
By coming 2nd in league Avalon would get the chance to play in the CIF-SS 5AA Championships. It would be a return to the playoffs after a two-year absence. In the first round they played Yeshiva. Avalon came out clicking and took an early lead and never gave it up, dominating the game 56-36.
In the quarter finals they faced Linfield Christian and had to come back from a five-point deficit at half. It took till the fourth quarter before Avalon would put Linfield away 52-44. In the Semifinals, Avalon would play Trinity Classical Academy who were the favorite to win the Championship.
The Lady Lancers kept the top two scorers from Trinity from making an impact and was within 2 points with 4 minutes left to go in the half. Trinity went on a run and Avalon had trouble scoring and went down by 18. Avalon made a couple more runs but could not make up the deficit the dug themselves into and loss the game 63-41.
By making the Semifinals, the Lady Lancers were invited to play in the Div. 5 State tournament. The Lady Lancers would travel to Escondido to play Classical Academy, the San Diego Section Champions. Avalon came ready to play and jumped to a 7-0 lead.
Classical responded and their top player Faith Brinkman led them back with her step back 3s. and Classical took a 32-29 halftime lead. Both teams battled back and forth taking turns with the lead and then Classical broke away to take a nine-point lead with 4 minutes left in the game. Avalon went on a shooting spree at one point hitting three 3s in a row, one by Vanessa Rodriguez to take the lead with less than a minute to go.
Faith Behrendt would go to the free throw line with 23 secs left to go to shoot three free-throws. She hit one and Avalon got the rebound which set up the crazy last 23 seconds. Avalon set up at half court to work towards a last second shot. Point guard Vikki Soto was double teamed and had to create on her own, she gave up the ball to Lizette Cervantes who drove the lane and was blocked.
Classical came up with the ball and Behrendt shot from 30 feet out and missed the shot but it was rebounded and put back by Brinkman as the buzzer went off giving them the 52-50 victory.
Although Avalon lost the first round State game, they walked away with heads held high knowing they not only belong with the best but with 10 returners they could come back next year and be the best.
“I am so proud of how these young ladies played this year. It was tough circumstances and they prevailed. With a full year under us, with practice to create discipline, and skill repetition to create offensive confidence and with our tenacious defense we will definitely be back next year with greater results,” Head Coach David Hart said.