BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH -- The Sunshine League game between
Bellarmine-Jefferson High and L.A. Marlborough School had all the
makings of a CIF Southern Section playoff game.
However, what was at stake Saturday was not an opportunity to
advance another round in the postseaon. Instead, the battle would
likely determine which team would claim this season’s league crown.
Although the Guards played well, the host Mustangs played better,
as Bell-Jeff went down to a 55-50 defeat.
“This atmosphere was exactly what we are going to find in the
playoffs,” Bell-Jeff Coach Bryan Camacho said. “These are the kinds
of games, against good teams, that we want to be involved with.
“Although we lost, the girls played their hearts out against a
very talented team.”
Marlborough (15-5, 6-1 in league) came into the contest ranked No.
3 in Division IVAA. Bell-Jeff, which hasn’t been ranked all season,
finally broke through and is the No. 7 team in Division IVA.
The Mustangs defeated the Guards, 55-45, Jan. 25 at Bell-Jeff, and
the Guards (15-4, 6-2) realized they would likely have to win the
game to keep their hopes of a league title in tact.
For most of the game, the Guards stayed right with the Mustangs.
Bell-Jeff had a 29-27 lead at halftime.
But late in the game, the Guards hit a snag.
“We just couldn’t hit our free in that fourth quarter,” said
Camacho, whose team converted just six of 18 free throws in the game.
“We also missed some layups that we should have made.
“But I was happy that our team stayed in it until the end. We
never game up.”
What helped Bell-Jeff stay in the hunt late in the game was the
long-range play of Julie Van Dyke, who hit three three- pointers in
the fourth quarter.
However, the Marlborough duo of Emily Tay and Shaina Zaidi was too
much to handle. Tay had 19 points and Zaidi -- who played her
freshman season at Burroughs -- added 17.
“We know that this loss is probably not going to let us win the
league championship,” Camacho said. “But it’s a big accomplishment to
finish second in this league.”
Unless Marlborough falters, the Guards will finish in second place
by winning their final three games.