Lady Heralds get past Maranatha in home win
By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal
With a fast start and a strong finish, the Whittier Christian girls basketball team claimed at least second place through the first round of Olympic League play with a 45-33 home win over Maranatha.
Sydney Lopez was dominant with 28 points and 15 rebounds, recording a double-double for the second consecutive game.
However, it was the supporting cast that made Head Coach Richard Villeza smile after Tuesday night’s win.
“It takes her other teammates to set screens, get her open and make passes, we have to have that ability to initiate the offense,” Villeza said. “They did a really good job of finding her tonight and the greatest thing was she was able to get started early which picked up the confidence level of everyone.”
The junior was strong all around, going 9-for-11 from the floor and 10-of-13 from the free throw line.
Lopez scored nine points in the first quarter as the Lady Heralds jumped to an early lead and held a seven-point advantage at halftime.
Victoria Chang and Kei Lani Ando kept Maranatha close with seven first half points each.
Both team struggled early in the third quarter as turnovers played a role, but after a 5-0 run from Maranatha, Lopez scored six consecutive points to maintain a 32-24 lead heading into the final quarter.
With the lead, Whittier Christian seized the opportunity to take second place and ran away as again Lopez converted shots from the line and guards Priscilla Zamarano and Lauren Macias chipped in with big shots.
On the defensive side, the Lady Heralds made Maranatha’s 6-foot-2 center Fola Adesina a non-factor, limiting her to two points and three total rebounds in limited play.
Chang led Maranatha with 17 points with support from Ando, who scored 10 points.
The Lady Heralds now have a huge opportunity on the road to even up a score as they take on Heritage Christian for an opportunity at a share of the league lead on Friday.