For once, the tears weren't from disappointment.
Brea Olinda made its first appearance in four years in a girls' basketball state championship game, and the Ladycats made the most of it.
Though they didn't play well on offense, they more than made up for it with a suffocating defense that gave them a 51-32 Division II victory over Redding Shasta Friday at Arco Arena.
The Ladycats (33-1) redefined the word giddy at the final buzzer as they finally put an end to three years of frustrating losses in the Southern California final and won a record sixth girls' basketball state title in a record seven appearances.
"We upheld the tradition," said senior Catherine Solorio.
"No, we're starting something new," said junior Lindsey Davidson, one of three starters who will be back next season.
Another starter who will be back was a heroine, but it's not the one Brea fans would expect.
Kate Ides, a 6-foot junior forward often overlooked next to 6-2 sophomore Chelsea Trotter, shut down Shasta's leading scorer, Sephora Scoubes, holding her to 14 points, nine below her average. Guarded by Ides and junior Jeri Costello, Scoubes--a senior 5-10 senior--scored seven of her 14 in the fourth quarter after Brea had stretched its lead to 21 points, 42-21.
Ides, averaging 7.9 points and held to four points or fewer in four of Brea's eight previous playoff playoff games, scored 14 on a five-for-10 shooting performance. Brea shot 31.4% as a team.
"I've been off and on in the playoffs," Ides said. "It had nothing to do with points; I just wanted to contribute to my team."
She certainly did that. With Brea struggling on offense and holding a 15-13 lead, Ides scored Brea's last six points of the quarter, taking a pass inside from Costello, scoring on a baby hook, and putting back a rebound for a 21-14 halftime lead.
Costello entered the game for Ides late in the first quarter, providing a spark on defense for the Ladycats. They trailed, 8-2, but went from a soft three-quarters press to an aggressive full-court press and took a 10-8 lead in the next 91 seconds, with Costello scoring a three-point play, Erin Kelly (13 points) hitting a three-pointer and Trotter (10 points, 11 rebounds) making two free throws--her only points of the half as the Wolves collapsed their zone around her.
Brea never trailed again.
Brea shot 29.2% in the first half, but the defense didn't give up a field goal in the third quarter until five seconds remained. The Ladycats outscored Shasta in the quarter, 13-4.
After each team scored in the opening minutes, Davidson (four points) hit a pull-up three-pointer, Kelly made a free throw, and then Solorio made a three-pointer and had a layup off her steal to make it 34-16.
Shasta, which made only two of 19 shots in the second and third quarters, finished 28-3.
"They had a great defense," Scoubes said. "They were on us like glue. We couldn't do much.
"They were big and strong and played great."
Solorio defended against Shasta point guard Lydia Reiner, who will play at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. That freed up Davidson and Kelly to defend against weaker players, and it paid handsomely. Davidson had seven steals and Kelly five. Brea had 20 steals among Shasta's 33 turnovers.
In the points-off-turnovers battle, Brea outscored Shasta, 20-5.
"They put the clamps on and took away the things we do well," said Shasta Coach Bill Callaway. "The difference tonight was the half-court game."
It was totally by design. Ides was on Scoubes man-to-man, the thinking being that Scoubes would then post up. Brea wanted Scoubes inside rather than nailing three-pointers from outside. That's what happened.
"I've always believed that the way you win big games--you have to take for granted you're going to be stressed out offensively--and you put all your positive energy into defense so that you can exploit the other kids," Sink said. "We took them out of their offense virtually every time down the floor.
"Then we hung around long enough for our offense to eventually click."
It was the Ladycats' 22nd consecutive victory, their only loss coming in December to New York Christ the King.
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County girls' basketball teams that have won state championships:
1989 Brea Olinda Div. III d. San Francisco Mercy, 70-46 1991 Brea Olinda, Div. II d. Hayward Moreau, 54-46 1992 Brea Olinda, Div. III d. Healdsburg, 47-44 1993 Brea Olinda, Div. II d. Fair Oaks Bella Vista, 42-41 1994 Brea Olinda, Div. III d. San Jose Archbishop Mitty, 54-44 1995 Woodbridge, Div. II d. Sacramento El Camino, 55-40 1996 Mater Dei, Div. I d. San Jose Archbishop Mitty, 59-48 Woodbridge, Div. II d. Sacramento El Camino, 51-44 1997 Laguna Hills, Div. II d. Newark Memorial, 41-40 1998 Brea Olinda, Div. II d. Redding Shasta, 51-32