Lancers hoops fall short in league, prep for playoffs

Photo by Ted Apodaca Virginia Soto pressures the defense on a fast break.

Girls basketball team ranked in top 10 as 5AA playoffs arrive

Avalon High’s girls basketball team gave the Pacifica Christian Tritons all they could handle for two quarters. Unfortunately for the Lancers, the game was four quarters long. Pacifica Christina was able to hold off the Lancers, 54-48, on Wednesday to win the outright Academy League championship.

Avalon trailed by 13 with just under six minutes remaining. They made a push, but a rebound and put back by Hailey Mackay and a three-pointer by Annika Jiwani helped keep Avalon at bay. The Lancers closed with a 8-0 run, including a three-pointer by Virginia Soto that cut the lead to 54-44 with 2:46 left.

But the Tritons were able to get some key stops and run the clock down for the win. Pacifica Christian improved to 13-3, while the Lancers finished the season at 6-2. Jiwani and Mackay led the Tritons with 17 points each. Soto led the Lancers with a game-high 18 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. Lizette Cervantez added 10 points, including eight in the second quarter when the Lancers were trying to respond from a first quarter that ended with them trailing 18-9. Lancer coach David Hart said the team had been struggling through a scoring drought in their last few games.

“Today we hit some big ones in the game that kind of kept us in and brought us back,” Hart said.

Pacifica Christian extended their lead to 21-9 before the Lancers began to find their shooting touch. A steal and breakaway by Soto cut the lead to 21-12. Cervantez hit a three pointer and then scored on an offensive rebound and put back to cut the lead to 21-17.

The Tritons added three points, including a rebound and put back by Nola Mihaly-Garvin. Hannah Hoefs had a defensive rebound that she took the length of the floor for a layup that cut the lead to 24-19. Three pointers by Vanessa Rodriguez and Cervantez cut the lead to 27-25, but that would be as close as the Lancers would get.

Pacifica Christain took a 29-25 lead into halftime and would open the third with a 12-3 run that would prove to be too big of a deficit for the Lancers to overcome. Despite the loss, Hart likes how his team looks as they await their playoff seeding. Brackets will be release by the CIF-SS on Sunday morning.

“We’re just really learning who we are and it’s pretty awesome because we’re going to the playoffs,” Hart said. “No one plays harder than these girls … I’m really proud of these girls.”

The Lancers are slotted in the CIF-SS Division 5AA. They were the No. 7 ranked team in this week’s division poll. Pacifica Christian is the No. 1 ranked team in this week’s division 5A poll. Hart said that Pacifica Christian would likely be the top team in the 5AA division, so despite the losses, Hart likes how things could play out for the Lancers.

He said that scoring droughts have plagued them at times and that with several players playing multiple sports, practice times have been limited. He also noted that they have been sloppy on defense at times (a problem he hopes they can clean up), but he added that the girls never give up. And defensively he likes their grit. If they can hit shots, he said they will be tough to beat.

“If we do that, we’re going to be hard to stop because I have too many girls I can pull off the bench who can at least play hard D(efense),” Hart said.

Undefeated going into final week

The Lady Lancers played Calvary Chapel Downy on Friday May 14. Avalon faced them earlier in the year and defeated them easily by eight points. But Avalon struggled to find scoring and fell behind 24-22 at the half.

The Lady Lancers revved up their defense in the second half and was able to get some easy scores off of steals and go on to win the game 44-40. Hannah Hoefs was the energizer that Avalon needed coming off the bench with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. Virginia Soto was solid all game with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 steals.

The Downey game kept Avalon undefeated going into Monday’s game against undefeated Titans of Pacifica Christian. Avalon felt good going into the game especially at home.

But again Avalon struggled with scoring and Pacifica started off hot going into half with an 18 point lead.

Although Avalon beat them in 3 major stats, more offensive rebounds, turnovers and 22 more shots, but because of their own struggles 26% shooting they fell behind and lost 66-38. Hoefs led Avalon again with 10 points and 7 steals.