Ventura Girls Awaken After Delayed Tip-Off, 56-43
The Gahr High girls’ basketball team needed to travel approximately 100 miles from Cerritos to Wednesday night’s Southern Section II-AA Division playoff game against Ventura at Buena High.
The Gladiators did not arrive until 7:30 p.m.--the scheduled starting time. The tip-off was delayed more than a half-hour, but it was Ventura that needed to overcome a slow start before emerging with a 56-43 victory.
The Cougars, who lost to Muir in a Southern Section final last season, will make their second consecutive appearance in a title game, this time on Saturday night against Brea-Olinda at Cal Poly Pomona.
Ventura, which has seven returnees from last year’s team, won its ninth game in a row to improve to 23-3. The victory also tied a school record for most wins.
Gahr, the San Gabriel Valley League co-champion finished 27-4.
Gahr led, 9-7, after the first period and 13-9 midway through the second quarter. Ventura, a Channel League co-champion, tied the score, 17-17, on a pair of free throws by Wendy Ward with 2 minutes 34 seconds left before halftime that began an 8-0 run to put the game away.
Ventura held Gahr scoreless for nearly six minutes at the end of the first half and beginning of the third period.
“We were tight in the beginning,” Ventura Coach Glenn Grey said. “We were ready to play at 7:30. We fell behind in the first period, but we didn’t worry. There was still a long ways to go.
“By the middle of the second quarter we started to go.”
The Cougars led, 23-17, halftime, but limited Gahr to only four points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter and led, 40-24, entering the fourth period.
“We started off slow,” said Ventura junior forward Denise Rea, who finished with a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds. “We kept the pressure on and kept a positive mind. We wanted to get back (to the finals).”
Ventura increased its lead to 43-24 with 7:20 left, but Gahr scored seven consecutive points late in the fourth quarter to close to 52-43 with less than a minute to play.
Ventura’s Cori Herman finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and Ward added 12 points, making 10 of 13 free throws. Kris Waldorf led Gahr with 14 points on four three-point baskets.