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Defeat likely puts end to title hopes

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

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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“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.


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