GIRLS' BASKETBALL THOUSAND OAKS TOURNAMENT : Crisp Free-Throw Shooting Lifts Channel Islands, 58-34


So what if the Channel Islands High girls' basketball team made only 18 of 67 mostly long-distance shots Thursday night?

No harm done. The Raiders' 27% shooting performance was more than offset by a 78% (21 of 27) performance from the free-throw line.

Add to the equation a smothering press and Channel Islands had no trouble in disposing of Hart, 58-34, in a sixth-place semifinal of the Thousand Oaks tournament.

Nearly every Channel Islands player repeatedly attempted long-distance jump shots with rainbow trajectories that at times had spectators gasping.

Virgie Juarez attempted four three-point shots and several two-point shots in which she toed the three-point line. Two consecutive three-point attempts by Juarez in the second quarter failed to draw iron.

Juarez made one three-point basket and finished with nine points. Her teammates had about as much success in their efforts.

But they also had their coach's blessing.

"This isn't what we're really like," Channel Islands Coach Ryle Lynch-Cole said. "We're still experimenting. The kids wanted to get their shots off and we wanted to find out what they could do.

"But I will say that our half-court defense is no experiment. That's the way we play."

From the opening tip, the defending Marmonte League co-champions pressed Hart into virtual ineffectiveness.

Hart (4-8) often had trouble advancing the ball past mid-court and twice failed to beat the 30-second shot clock in early possessions.

In the first quarter, Hart attempted only six shots to the Raiders' 18. By halftime, Channel Islands (7-3), despite making only seven of its first 37 shots, had built a 28-14 lead. Hart attempted only 27 shots in the game, making 11.

Blanca Rodriguez scored a game-high 14 points for Channel Islands, including four of four free throws. Mickie Liufau (12 points) made four of five free throws and Shawanda Hotchkiss (11 points) made five of six free throws.

Lorile Downen led Hart with 12 points. Shannon Martin added 11 points.

In other games:

Glendale 41, Ridgecrest Burroughs 36--With three starters missing because of injury or illness, Jenny Dalton picked up the offensive slack to lead the Dynamiters in a sixth-place semifinal.

Dalton finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and six steals for Glendale (9-5).

Palmdale 48, Righetti 41--Senior Aimee Grimes (18 points) helped key a blistering comeback in a fifth-place semifinal. Kim Schielke, a junior, added 11 points for the Falcons, which outscored Righetti, 25-7, in the fourth quarter.

Camarillo 63, Rio Mesa 36--Senior Kristen Benson made the consolation semifinal her personal showcase with a game-high 25 points. Benson scored nine in the first quarter as Camarillo jumped to a 15-6 lead and added five in the fourth quarter, including a three-point basket.

Karli Jungwirth (14 points) and Joy Garcia (11) also scored in double figures for Camarillo. Eryn Farney led Rio Mesa with 16 points.

Cabrillo 55, Royal 36--Telli Clesson, Jensine Boyer and Stacie Vigil each scored 11 points to pace Cabrillo in a consolation-bracket game. Royal's Tracy Tahy scored a game-high 16 points.

Hueneme 39, Notre Dame 32--Shannon McGlothlin scored 10 points for Notre Dame (6-7) in a consolation game.

Santa Maria 58, Santa Paula 34--Tara Sanders scored 18 points and Vanessa Nichols added 11 to lead Santa Paula in a consolation game.

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