GLENDALE — Madison Federici didn’t pay much attention to the CIF Southern Section Division VI seedings once they were unveiled.
The senior forward on the Glendale Adventist Academy girls’ basketball team was more concerned about the Cougars getting off to fast starts and then suffocating opponents defensively.
Backed by a noisy partisan crowd, 13th-seeded Glendale Adventist excelled in both facets Saturday, as it cruised to a 40-25 upset victory against fourth-seeded Baptist Christian.
The Cougars, who received an at-large entry out of the Liberty League, improved to 7-7 and will take on 12th-seeded St. Monica Academy in a quarterfinal road contest Wednesday.
On Saturday, Glendale Adventist saw Federici set the tone from the opening tip. She scored the game’s first six points, four coming off turnovers by Baptist Christian (15-5), to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead.
“It was important for us to get going right off the bat,” said Federici, who finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds, seven steals and a pair of blocks. “We weren’t concerned about where [Baptist Christian] or any team was seeded because it’s all about how you are playing on the court.
“We had a lot of defensive pressure and we forced a lot of turnovers that helped us get some quick-strike baskets.”
Glendale Adventist saw Baptist Christian, which finished second in the Victory League, commit 19 turnovers. The Cougars, who began the playoffs with a 38-17 road win versus unseeded Packinghouse Christian on Thursday, received 11 points from Isabella Naguit, eight from Harley Federici and 10 rebounds from Brittney Gregg.
Naguit, a sophomore guard, scored all of her points in the second half after the Cougars held a 17-8 halftime advantage.
“I think our crowd really got us pumped up,” said Naguit, who scored on a layup following a steal to give Glendale Adventist a 38-25 lead with 2:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. “Our hustle on defense was also big because I think it got them pretty tired.
“We are well conditioned, so we know we can run well. We got a lot of fast-break points, too.”
Baptist Christian got nine points apiece from Camila Cabrera and Monique Gonzalez.
The Cougars held the Warriors to one point in the first quarter and didn’t yield a basket until Gonzalez made a layup with 5:13 left in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 14-3.
Glendale Adventist limited Baptist Christian to three fourth-quarter points, something that impressed Cougars first-year Coach Joseph Naguit.
“We stayed with it defensively, especially in the last quarter,” he said. “We knew it had to come down to playing good defense and getting turnovers.
“The school is thirsty for this type of success. We got some big efforts from Madison and Isabella. In the past, Madison had to do everything, but now she’s playing one position. Isabella is a late bloomer in our games. Once she gets that feeling, she can go.”