Posted on 16 February 2013 by La Habra Journal
By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal
It’s become clear that the Whittier Christian girls basketball team has found it’s recipe for success and it was on display again in the team’s 47-30 home win over Carpinteria in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 4A playoffs.
The Lady Heralds have relied on forcing turnovers throughout and pulling away in the second half over the past two weeks, which has led to a secured second-place finish in the Olympic League and a return trip to the second round in Division 4A.
“The nice thing is that they’re learning and they’re a good group of girls that just want to get better,” said Richard Villeza, Whittier Christian head coach.
Sydney Lopez once again proved to be the most dominant on the court, putting up 16 points, all in the paint, to go along with 16 rebounds.
However, early on it was Hannah Yoshihara that sparked the Lady Heralds to a 9-6 lead after the first quarter.
“Sydney really led us during that run, she really knows how to pick her spots,” Villeza said. “It’s all about confidence and Hannah had it tonight too after she knocked down that first shot and that was huge because it opened Sydney up to attack inside.”
The junior hit a 3-pointer and scored seven of the team’s first quarter points.
But Carpinteria took advantage of a cold streak by Whittier Christian to start the second quarter.
The Lady Warriors took their lone lead at 10-9 midway through the second quarter. Not willing to be outdone, Lopez took her team on her back and muscled an 8-0 run to close out the half as Whittier Christian led 17-10.
Carpinteria fared better in the third quarter and guard Elena Schneider scored eight of her 10 points after the break as the Lady Warriors pulled to within four points.
At one point in the third quarter, Carpinteria tied the score at 25-25, but the Lady Heralds put in two baskets to cling to a four-point lead.
“We got caught a little bit in the third quarter, but the main thing is that they weathered it and they didn’t panic,” Villeza said.
Having felt the pressure, Whittier Christian responded by matching it’s most productive quarter of the season with 18 fourth quarter points, which the Lady Heralds also accomplished in the third quarter of a nonleague game against Calvary Chapel of Santa Ana, Dec. 4, 2012.
Six Lady Heralds contributed in the scoring, led by point guards Raylene Olivares and Priscilla Zamarano, who scored four points each.
Megan Kleber contributed with six second half points and 10 rebounds for Whittier Christian.
“Just the presence she gives us inside takes pressure off of our shooters,” Villeza said. “Sometimes she’s a bit aggressive and that gets her in foul trouble, but we’re doing a good job of monitoring that.”
While Schneider was a bright spot, guard Bethany Lugo helped with five points for the Lady Warriors, who finished with a 12-13 overall record.
Whittier Christian will take its show on the road against No. 2 St. Monica Catholic, Saturday night at 7 p.m.
“We’re going to practice and work on some things,” Villeza said. “We’re going to put our best team out there and do what we can to try and win.”