Gardena Serra High's sports motto is Home of Champions, with eight state championships in football, basketball and track and field, featuring the likes of Adoree' Jackson and Robert Woods, among others. Now the girls' basketball program has thrust itself back into the spotlight with a second state title.
Coming out sizzling, then withstanding a comeback bid in the third quarter, the Cavaliers won the CIF state Division I championship on Friday night with a 70-54 victory over San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral at Golden 1 Center.
Senior guard Cheyenne Givens made all six of her shots and was seven of 10 on free throws en route to scoring 20 points to lead Serra (25-8). Junior Alexis Tucker contributed 19 points and nine rebounds.
Serra opened an 18-4 first-quarter lead and led at halftime 31-18. Sacred Heart closed to within three points in the third quarter before the Cavaliers regained their momentum to pull away.
Rolling Hills Prep wins Division IV
Sophomore Naya Stroud made a clutch jump shot with 29 seconds left to break a tie and send Rolling Hills Prep to a 57-53 victory over Portola Valley Priory in the Division IV girls' championship game.
With 39 second left, Priory had tied the game on the first three-point shot of the season for 6-4 Ila Lane. That's when Stroud didn't hesitate to launch her jump shot. Then Madison Yamada clinched the team's first state championship by making two free throws with two seconds left.
Rolling Hills Prep made 24 of 31 free throws. Priory was nine of 15 from the line.
"Kudos to them for making big-time shots," Priory coach Buck Matthews said.
Reserve Natalie Valvo of Rolling Hills came through with one of the game's biggest plays — taking a charge that fouled out Priory's point guard, Tatiana Reese, with 7:42 left.
"It was huge," Rolling Hills Coach Richard Masson said. "We like to play with passion and purpose."
Aly Maxey and Macy Pakele each scored 16 points and freshman Clarice Akunwafo had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Rolling Hills. Lane scored 20 points and had 17 rebounds.
Sunny Hills falls
UCLA-bound Kiara Jefferson scored 21 points and made four threes and Cal State Bakersfield-bound Nia Johnson contributed 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead Sacramento West Campus past Fullerton Sunny Hills 75-47 in the Division III girls' final.
West Campus (29-7) won its second consecutive state title while making eight of 19 shots from three-point range. West Campus opened the game by outscoring Sunny Hills 26-4 in the first quarter.
Kayli Arii and Jessica Barrow each scored 15 points for Sunny Hills (24-11).