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CANYONS TOURNAMENT : Pierce Beats Riverside in Final, 77-57

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

One would have to go back nearly four years for the last time Rob DiMuro coached in a so-called “big” basketball game.

The year was 1987 and DiMuro’s Notre Dame High girls, fighting for a playoff berth, upset powerhouse Louisville in what was the biggest victory ever for the Notre Dame girls. DiMuro recorded another big victory Saturday night. This time, however, the stakes were even higher.

DiMuro’s Pierce College women’s team rolled past Riverside, 77-57, en route to the championship of the College of the Canyons tournament.

“Oh, man, this is a huge win for us,” DiMuro said. “This is the greatest. This is the best win I’ve had--ever. Nothing tops this one.”

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What made the victory particularly sweet was that Pierce (10-2) had lost a three-point decision to Riverside earlier this season. This time, the Brahmas took the lead at the outset and were never headed in notching their seventh consecutive victory.

Other than having trouble with Riverside’s full-court pressure (Pierce had 33 turnovers), the Brahmas did just about everything right. They shot 53% from the field while limiting Riverside (8-3) to 36%, and they dominated the backboards, outrebounding the Tigers, 57-30.

Even at the line, where Riverside didn’t have to worry about ballhawking Brahmas, the Tigers struggled, sinking just two of 12 free throws.

Pierce’s Lisa Little, the tournament most valuable player, scored 21 points, connecting on 10 of 13 field-goal attempts, and had nine rebounds.

Brahma forward Yolanda Davidian led all scorers with a season-high 23 points and added nine rebounds. Melanie Sapon (11 points) and Nikki Davis (10) also scored in double figures for Pierce, which got a team-high 11 rebounds from guard Sarah Dancs.

Pierce jumped to a 6-0 lead and built it to 36-24 by halftime. The Brahmas weathered 17 first-half turnovers by converting 50% of their field-goal tries while limiting Riverside to 32%.

It only got worse for Riverside in the second half--Pierce led by as many as 23 points in the late going.

The difference for Pierce in the second meeting?

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“A little maturity,” DiMuro said. “We’ve been waiting to see if and when we would be a good basketball team. I think we found out tonight.”

In other games:

Canyons 59, Southwestern 50--It might not show up in the box score, but Kim Fischer contributed to Canyons’ win in a big way. The victory gave Canyons (7-4) third place in the tournament.

Fischer, a freshman forward, came off the bench and scored all three of her points on free throws within a span of two minutes to put Canyons ahead, 54-50, with 2 minutes 17 seconds to play.

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Fischer also grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds, 10 in the second half.

Freshman Shannon Solway led Canyons with 17 points, including two big baskets and a free throw in the final 1:14.

Center Kim Posey added 16 points and 11 rebounds before leaving because of a sprained ankle with 4:41 to play. Dee Dee Hinson had 10 points for the Cougars and guard Keira Irwin added 10 assists.

Neither team shot well: Canyons hit 36% of its field-goal attempts to 30% for Southwestern (6-7).

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Trade Tech 71, Antelope Valley 62--Trade Tech (7-4) pulled away in the final minutes to win the consolation championship. Roz Chavers led the winners with 27 points and 15 rebounds.

Krischelle Gill led Antelope Valley (3-9) with 18 points and Paula Page added 17 points and 13 rebounds.


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