LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy basketball team put together its best half in the season — a 51-point effort — in a second-round game of the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA playoffs against Workman High Saturday night.
"It's the best half since I've ever been here," Sacred Heart Coach Gino Pacella said.
The only question Pacella had coming into Saturday was if his team could execute the game plan he'd drawn up. He liked the answer he got, as Sacred Heart dominated the Lobos to earn a convincing, 77-50, victory.
"We knew we could push the tempo in this game a little bit and get a lot of open looks if [Workman] didn't run the court well and get back on transition," Pacella said.
Everyone got involved in the offense early for Sacred Heart (17-11), as the Tologs jumped out to a 10-1 lead, with four different players scoring in the opening minutes. By the end of the first half the Tologs had a 51-26 lead.
Workman had to settle for long-range shots the entire night, as Lana Haddad and Melanie Agakanian clogged up the paint and deterred any easy layups.
The Tologs exploited their height advantage against the smaller Lobos squad. The game was ultimately won on the boards, as Sacred Heart more than doubled Workman's rebounds (54 to 25).
Haddad was a matchup problem the Lobos never could resolve, as she compiled an impressive stat sheet of 23 points and 15 rebounds — both game highs.
"She's been doing it for us all season," Pacella said. "Tonight is a classic example of what she can do. She has a nice touch and is just a force to be reckoned with."
When Haddad pulled down a rebound, she was quick to look up for a teammate streaking up the court for easy transition points.
Dana Budzyn and Vanessa Romero both benefitted from Haddad's vision. Budzyn finished the game with 22 points and Romero had 19 points and four steals — many of their points coming off outlet passes from Haddad.
"It comes naturally," Haddad said of her team's up-tempo offense. "I know they're going to be there because we practice it. That's our game and how we know how to play — it just flows."
Evelyn Herrera did all she could to keep Workman in the game, scoring a team-high 19 points before hurting her back and being sidelined for most of the fourth quarter.