After missing the final two games of the regular season because of a sprained ankle, forward Maricela Rodriguez of the Valley College women’s basketball team showed Friday night she’s in playoff form.
The freshman from Lincoln High scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds to spark the host Monarchs over Antelope Valley, 70-65, in a first-round game of the Southern California Regional.
The Monarchs (20-11) travel to Ventura (32-1), the two-time defending state champion, for a second-round game Tuesday.
“I’ve been getting [the ankle] treated all week and I just blocked it out of my mind,” Rodriguez said.
With Rodriguez and Nyoki McKeith showing the way, the Monarchs (20-11) opened up a 31-20 halftime lead. They combined for 17 points in the half, nine by McKeith.
Valley led, 31-20, at halftime and held off the Marauders (16-15) in the final five minutes.
“The whole year we’ve done that,” Taylor said. “We get out to the lead and can’t seem to put teams away.”
Melolini Malaki scored 16 points for the Monarchs, and McKeith and Tanya McLaughlin each had 13.
Kristin Phillips and Ebony Davis had 15 points apiece for Antelope Valley. Davis had 15 rebounds.