Keilani Ikehara’s hot hand helped No. 8 Mira Costa knock off top-seeded Cajon in the quarterfinals. Photo by Ray Vidal
Three South Bay teams will vie for CIF Southern Section girls basketball titles this week but Tuesday’s semifinal games will determine two of the three squads that will compete for the season-long goal.
Second-seeded Bishop Montgomery (22-8) reached the Division 4AA championship game with a dramatic 48-41 overtime win over No. 3 Oaks Christian on Saturday after freshman Jessica Malazarte nailed a 30-foot 3-pointer to tie the game at the end of regulation.
The Knights will take on top-seeded JSerra (21-9) for the division crown.
Bay League rivals Mira Costa and Redondo Union will square off Tuesday in a 7 p.m. Division 2AA semifinal contest at Mira Costa.
After earning an at-large berth with a fourth-place finish in the Bay League, Mira Costa (21-10) has turned some heads with a deep postseason run that included a shocking 64-60 overtime win at top-seeded Cajon on Saturday.
“It was a big win for us,” Mira Costa head coach John Lapham. “After a two-hour ride in the rain in a leaky bus, the kids played incredible in front of a hostile crowd. It was the most exciting game I’ve been involved with.”
The Mustangs trailed by five points in the final minute but Keilani Ikehara’s 3-pointer with two seconds left in regulation forced overtime. Lapham said the junior’s 35-footer in the third quarter was equally impressive and helped spur his team’s rally.
Mira Costa’s defense limited Cajon to two points in overtime behind the strong play of Camille Mills.
“Our chemistry is very strong right now,” Lapham said. “Camille Mills had 15 rebounds against probably the best rebounding team in the division and Alison Bartak played her best five minutes of the season.”
Meghan Peneueta continued to have a stellar postseason scoring 24 points in Redondo’s quarterfinal victory. Photo by Ray Vidal
Ikehara finished with 17 points, Camille Mills recorded 17 points and Haley Tojo added 10 points for the Mustangs who will host Redondo in a rubber-game after the two teams split their Bay League contests.
“The players know each other very well and it comes down to who executes better,” Lapham said. “Redondo is well coached and a deep, athletic team.”
Fourth–seeded Redondo (20-9) took care of business in its quarterfinal game, eliminating No. 5 Orange Lutheran 66-46 behind Meghan Peneueta’s 24-point, 10-rebound performance.
Tatiana Maimot added 13 points and grabbed six rebounds and Nao Shiota scored nine points for the Sea Hawks.
Redondo head coach Marcelo Enriquez expects a fierce battle against Mira Costa.
“I believe rivalry games are always tougher,” Enriquez said. “Both teams know each other very well so it will make for a good game. As far as Costa upsetting Cajon, I am not in the least surprised that Costa beat Cajon. Costa has a good team and our league this year had four very good teams, of which we are all benefiting now. We are peaking right now and I attribute that to the team playing more as cohesive unit and our defense has been unbelievable in the playoffs.”
In Division 2A, Bay League champion and top-seeded West Torrance (28-4) will host cross-town rival and fourth-seeded North Torrance (22-7) on Tuesday.
West defeated No. 8 Moorpark 74-52 while North out shot No. 5 Royal 66-46.
The winner advances to play the winner between No. 2 El Dorado (25-4) and No. 3 Patriot (25-3) for the championship on either Friday or Saturday.