Sports

Lady Highlanders can’t hold off second-half rally by Yucaipa

Megan Chancellor scored 15 points in La Habra's first round loss to Yucaipa, Saturday night at home.
Megan Chancellor scored 15 points in La Habra’s first round loss to Yucaipa, Saturday night at home.

by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

After a hard fought game, the La Habra High School girls’ basketball team lost to Yucaipa, 58-55, in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs , at home on Saturday.

“We studied them a lot,” said Jim Bohn, La Habra head coach. “We saw some video on them and were able to watch their game and their scheme that they have.”

The Highlanders (15-11) had the lead until the end of the fourth quarter when the Thunderbirds scored six consecutive points to put them in the lead, 54-49.

“I thought we played them very well in the first half,” Bohn said. “We held their shooters in check and moved the ball well as a team. In the second half we had some bad rotations and 12 free throws that we missed that made a difference too.”

La Habra started strong in the first quarter, holding Yucaipa (12-11) to only 2 points.

Megan Chancellor scored the first points of the game with a drive through defenders for a layup, assisted by Ashleigh Bessler. La Habra led, 9-2, going into the second quarter.

The Highlanders scored quickly in the beginning of the second quarter with a baseline jump shot by Emma Zener.

The Thunderbirds responded by scoring four points, but Zener fired back with another jump shot assisted by Bessler.

The Highlanders led, 25-14, going into halftime.

“I told them you have to come out and own the first three minutes of that game and we didn’t do that,” Bohn said. “When we don’t do that, that’s usually what happens. We had a tight game, we didn’t rotate, their guards got free, we didn’t step up in the lane when we should have and that hurt us. They’re a good team and they deserved to win tonight.”

Yucaipa came back strong on offense in the second half and scored four consecutive points at the beginning of the third quarter.

Bessler responded with two points off an offensive rebound and Amanda Cuervo followed with a jump shot.

The Thunderbirds came back in the middle of the quarter with a 10-0 run, which put them in the lead, 31-29.

La Habra pushed the ball on offense and scored two 3-pointers, by Zener and Chancellor, and a jump shot by Lizette Martinez, with less than a minute left in the quarter.

“I think the turnovers, the free throws, and the rotations hurt us,” Bohn said. “In the third quarter we didn’t have our hands up and were just standing like statues and they beat us in the backdoor. We made some adjustments and it’s unfortunate that players didn’t step up during that time.”

La Habra led, 42-40, going into the final quarter.

Both teams fought hard in the final quarter, but Yucaipa clinched the win by making a free throw with a few seconds left in the game.

Zener led the team in scoring with five 3-pointers and a total of 20 points and Chancellor followed with 15 points.

“They fought and it’s a great experience for the young ones,” Bohn said. “It’s unfortunate for Kaili and Megan to go out that way, but looking at the big picture, they did more than we expected this year.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.