Keilani Ikehara’s nine points led Mira Costa to a 40-35 win over rival Redondo Union. Photo by Ray Vidal
In a game where the lead was never more than ten, Mira Costa’s girls basketball team survived visiting Redondo Union’s rally for a 40-35 before a packed Fisher Gym Tuesday night.
The Mustangs held the lead through the game and won without having a scorer in double digits. Keilani Ikehara led the Mustangs with nine points while Camille Mills scored eight and Allie Navarette contributed seven points.
In this defensive battle, Redondo was never out of it. Every time it seemed Mira Costa was going to pull away, Redondo battled back. Every time Redondo threatened, Mira Costa found a way to maintain its lead.
The Mustangs held a 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter after Ikehara nailed a 3-pointer.
Starting the second quarter, Redondo tried to get the ball inside almost every possession, but either turned the ball over or the shots were not falling. Redondo was able to stay in the game by making six of seven free throws in the first half and 13 of 18 overall.
Mira Costa’s biggest lead in the second quarter was nine and led 23-15 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Sea Hawks cut the deficit to four after Tatiana Maimot’s free throws with 6:02 left, but the Mustang’s finished the quarter with a 6-2 run and maintained it’s eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Mira Costa expanded its lead to ten after Navarette’s bucket, but Redondo did not give up without a fight. The score was 37-30 with less than two minutes to go and Maimot made it 37-32 with 1:34 to play. After Navarette went one of two from the line, Redondo’s Nao Shiota, who had a game-high 13 points, hit a three from the corner making the scored 38-35 with 46 seconds remaining.
The Sea Hawks got a stop, and the ball back, with enough time to tie the game. Shiota shot a 3-pointer for a chance to tie, but it went long and Mills got the rebound and was immediately fouled with 2.2 seconds left. Mills made both free throws to seal the game for the Mustangs.
Mira Costa coach John Lapham said it his team’s their defense that won the game.
“We were sufficiently good on defense,” he said. “We couldn’t stop (Maimot) but we did a good job of limiting the damage and closing out on their 3-point shooters.”
Lapham said his team was very poised down the stretch and did enough to win.
“We didn’t shoot well, but we shot well enough in what was a defensive tough game.”
With three Bay League games remaining before playoff brackets are determined, the rivalry game took on more meaning. Redondo entered the game ranked No. 3 in CIF Division 2AA while Mira Costa was ranked No. 9.
Mira Costa (17-6, 3-4) hosts Leuzinger at 6 p.m. Friday and then will travel to the hill to play at Peninsula ((No. 9, Div. 1A) on Tuesday and Palos Verdes next Thursday.
Redondo (15-8, 5-2) hosts West Torrance (No. 1, Div. 2A) tomorrow, Palos Verdes (No. 13, Div. 3AA) and travels to Leuzinger next Thursday.