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Defense Does It for Royal

When it comes to defense, the Royal High girls’ basketball team is very conscientious.

When it comes to offense, the Highlanders have no conscience.

Those traits led to a 52-50 victory over Grant on Saturday night in the championship game of the Thousand Oaks tournament.

After repeatedly being riddled on drives by Alexis Weatherspoon and Krystal Clay of Grant (6-7), Royal (11-3) packed into a zone and held its ground, limiting the pair to 14 points in the final 13 minutes.

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Weatherspoon, the tournament’s co-most valuable player with Novey Woodard-Parker of Royal, finished with 30 points and Clay scored 17.

“Their penetration was killing us,” said Coach Mike Kohl, whose team trailed by as many as 12 points. “I told them to weather the storm and we’d win this thing.”

The Highlanders did that with a barrage of outside shots.

Ashley Alderton scored 17 points, including five three-pointers. Kinsley Mittel had eight points, including a free throw that gave Royal a 52-47 lead with nine seconds left.

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Woodard-Parker scored eight points for the Highlanders, who made only 20 of 55 shots, six of 30 from three-point range.

Shooting percentage isn’t as important as victories to Royal, 11-1 in tournament games.

"[Shooting is] what I’m supposed to do,” said Alderton, who was six for 20. “My coach tells me to keep shooting and I do what I’m told.”

That philosophy frustrated Grant, which couldn’t catch up to Royal’s perimeter shooters.

“They’re very well versed in their offense,” Coach Steve Brumwell said. “We were trying to get to them, even taking shortcuts, but we couldn’t. They were tough to stop.”

In other games at the Thousand Oaks tournament:

El Camino Real 44, Notre Dame 43--Karen Shun made a 17-foot jumper with 16 seconds left to give the Conquistadores (7-4) third place.

Shun finished with 14 points and Aubree Smithey had 12.

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Sierra Hauser-Price scored 14 points for Notre Dame (7-8).

Camarillo 49, North Hollywood 42--Rachel Young scored 20 points and Gillian Lillich added 14 for Camarillo in the fifth-place game. Richelle Sherman scored 13 points for North Hollywood (7-7).

Saugus 51, Thousand Oaks 45--Sophomore Lisa Sonnenblick scored 13 points for Saugus (12-2), which withstood a late Lancer rally to win the consolation final.

Courtney Vasquez scored 21 points for Thousand Oaks (6-6).

Rio Mesa 47, Highland 37--Kyelynn Chiong scored 13 points for the Spartans in a consolation victory.

Merced 48, Westlake 38--Jennifer Schlinz scored 10 points for Westlake in a consolation loss.


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