Taft's Griffin Takes Over in Overtime

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It was anything but a masterpiece, but the Taft High girls' basketball team will take it just the same.

The Toreadors were extended to overtime before they could put the final stroke on Garfield, 54-52, at Taft on Friday night in the first round of the City 4-A playoffs.

For the record, it was Rachel Martinez's layup with 17 seconds left in the extra four-minute period that broke a 52-52 deadlock.

However, it was a nifty pass from senior forward Crystal Griffin that made it happen. That was no surprise. Griffin made it happen throughout overtime.

She scored six of her team's eight points in overtime--including four free throws in the final 1 minute 27 seconds--to lead Taft into the second round against top-seeded Crenshaw.

"Those were some clutch free throws down the line," said Coach Jim Woodard, who guided Taft (18-2) to the West Valley League championship. "She helped bail us out. If we play like this against Crenshaw, they'll beat us by 60 points.

Taft, which had four starters taller than Garfield's tallest player, struggled throughout with the Bulldogs (17-6).

It probably didn't help that the Toreadors made only 22 of 70 shots and committed 26 turnovers.

"I was very happy to get out of this with a win," Woodard said. "We stunk."

Griffin, however, was able to score 24 points, and added 13 rebounds. Vanessa Dunn contributed 15 points and 13 rebounds. Taft's Nyoki McKeith, the West Valley League's player of the year, scored seven points before fouling out in the final minute of regulation.

The Bulldogs stayed in it by making eight three-point baskets, four by Monica Abundis (14 points).

Taft had an opportunity to win it in regulation, but Marisol Lopez missed three free throws in the final 13 seconds of regulation.

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