BURBANK — For the Lycee International girls’ basketball team, making the CIF playoffs in its first year of eligibility was gratifying enough.
Struggles aside in its match-up with Sacred Heart of Jesus in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division VI tournament, which resulted in a 60-30 defeat Thursday night at Bellarmine-Jefferson High School, Lycee voiced appreciation for the opportunity.
"We gained a lot of experience," said Lions Coach Marilyn Dubon, whose team finished second in the International League. "It's our first year playing organized ball and we have a lot of first-year players. People took notice of our school and I'm glad we're in CIF."
Senior Maddy Metres echoed her coach's sentiments.
"I'm proud of the girls," the senior, who led the team with 13 points, said. "It's our first year and we're in the playoffs. I'm super happy; making it this far is awesome."
Metres hit three three-pointers. Alexa Infante, a junior, followed up with seven points.
Thursday’s game against Sacred Heart of Jesus (14-10, No. 2 team from Horizon League) was not close after the opening minutes in which Lycee (9-3) scored the first bucket and had the score tied on two occasions. The Comets used a 16-0 run to end the first quarter, creating separation and essentially putting the game away.
Sacred Heart increased its lead to 30 going into halftime, as Lycee continued to struggle on both ends of the court, with turnovers and subpar shooting on offense and unfocused defense on the other end.
Still, a spirited and proud Lycee squad came out in the third, showing energy and playing better overall. Metres scored 11 of her 13 in the latter 16 minutes, including a three in the opening seconds of the third.
The deficit proved insurmountable, however, as Lycee couldn't cut the lead to less than 28 on Metres' second long ball midway through the third.
"Our defense can improve," Dubon said. "Our offense is fine but our chemistry isn't quite there.
"Next year, we'll be better. We'll have returning players and everything we learned will carry over."