Moorpark Stands Tall in 64-58 Loss : Quarterfinals: Raiders battle Sequoias’ lofty front line with sagging 2-3 zone to keep the game in doubt until the final seconds.
College of the Sequoias might have won the game at the charity stripe, but the Moorpark women’s basketball team cannot be accused of giving it away.
The Raiders battled a powerful Sequoias team to the wire, but Sequoias reserve Keisha McCarty made seven of eight free throws in the last 5 1/2 minutes, including four of four in the final 18 seconds.
McCarty’s free throws helped give Sequoias a 64-58 victory Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the state tournament at Valley.
The aptly named Lady Giants (30-5) stand 6-2, 6-1, 5-11 across their front line, and Moorpark (30-5) found that the bigger they are the harder it is to make them fall.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better effort,” Moorpark Coach Gary Abraham said. “The girls played about as well as they could. . . . Most of the people I talked to didn’t think we had a chance in this game.”
Three Sequoias starters played on the Lady Giants’ 1990 state runner-up team, but Moorpark, the third-seeded team from the South, was making its first final-eight appearance in Abraham’s five seasons.
However, Moorpark shook off any early-game jitters to lead for much of the first half.
Moorpark pushed the ball up court as much as possible, and used a sagging 2-3 zone to keep Sequoias, seeded second among North teams, from shoving the ball inside to its big people.
“They’re the first team this season that has beat us down the floor several times,” Sequoias Coach Tom Gilcrest said. "(On defense) they did a good job of sliding down and covering our shooters. They made it tough.”
When push came to shove in the second half, though, Sequoias’ power was decisive.
“The key to the game was they were getting second shots,” said Moorpark’s Kerrie Marshall, who had 24 points and 16 rebounds. “They were just too tall.”
Marshall made a steal and layup to put Moorpark ahead, 40-39, at the 14-minute mark, but Sequoias did not trail again.
Trailing, 58-56, with 1:17 remaining, Moorpark had the ball and a chance to tie but Marshall was called for a charging foul.
“That may have been the turning point,” Abraham said.
Jolayne Thompson scored on a put-back at the other end to put Sequoias ahead by four points. Marshall made a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left to cut the margin back to two, but McCarty then was perfect on four consecutive free throws to secure the victory.
Angie Long, Donna Houck and Amy Chandler each scored eight points for Moorpark. Chandler added seven assists and five rebounds but was just four of 18 from the field.
Thompson scored 16 for Sequoias.
Shaulonda Rittenhouse, Sequoias’ leading scorer with a 15-point average, got into foul trouble and scored 11 points.