Sage denied in OT

HUNTINGTON BEACH — Coach Lou Silverman was proud of the way his Sage Hill School girls' basketball team battled inside for rebounds Friday night against a bigger Brethren Christian squad.

But after the second-half scoring outburst by Warriors senior center Rebekah Rudd, the Lightning now have to focus on rebounding for the second half of their Academy League schedule.

The 6-foot-2 Rudd scored all 13 of her points in the second half and overtime as Brethren Christian outlasted Sage Hill, 37-35, at Liberty Christian.

"We were a little short of fouls, short of bodies but we were not short of heart," Silverman said. "You don't like to look for moral victories, but my kids gave it everything they had."

Brethren Christian (14-5, 3-2 in league) is in third place in league at the halfway point, while Sage (11-7, 2-3) drops to fourth. Only the top three teams in the six-team league are guaranteed CIF Southern Section playoff berths.

Sage Hill had chances at the end of both regulation and overtime. With the score tied at 30, the Lightning got the ball back with nine seconds left in regulation, but a 14-foot jumper was missed with seconds to go and a follow-up was blocked.

The Lightning were down by two for much of the four-minute overtime. Brethren Christian missed two free throws with nine seconds left, and Rudd grabbed the offensive rebound. But she was stripped on the way up by Sage Hill junior guard Ava Soleimany, who had a game-high 19 points, and Sage called timeout with five seconds left.

The pass went in to sophomore Shelby Bolen, who got it to Soleimany. But Warriors Coach Jeff Wallace sent three of his tallest players out to swarm Soleimany, and Sage Hill was unable to get a shot off before time expired.

"I was just trying to get around, trying to get an open shot and time ran out," said Soleimany, who also had five rebounds and four steals. "They knew who the ball was going to go in to, I think. They expected that the whole game. We did what we could.

"We battled and we fought for every loose ball. We were going 100% all the way."

Rudd went on her rampage as Lightning junior center Zoe Kreitenberg (five points and eight rebounds) was in foul trouble all night. Kreitenberg finally fouled out with just over a minute left in regulation, but Silverman appreciated that Maggie Danner (four points, seven rebounds, four blocks and four steals) and Bolen (four points and 12 rebounds) both stepped up.

"Shelby and Maggie were just unbelievable on defense," Silverman said. "This is a good team, and we held them to 12 points at the half. The defense dominated the game."

Sage Hill was up, 26-16, with 1:10 left in the third quarter after Soleimany's driving lay-up. But the Lightning could manage just four points in the fourth quarter, and Brethren tied the score on a free throw by Rudd with 44 seconds left in regulation.

Soleimany, who scored more than 20 points for the fourth time this season, scored all five of Sage Hill's points in overtime. She also made two three-pointers, continuing a streak of at least one make from threedom in every Sage game this year.

Sage Hill will look to regroup for the second part of its league schedule. Soleimany said the team can definitely play better against rival St. Margaret's than its 54-23 loss last week, although Kreitenberg missed that game.

The rematch with Brethren Christian is Feb. 10 at the Sage Hill gym.

"We have to get them next time when they come over [to Sage Hill]," Soleimany said. "I mean, it was right there [tonight]."


Academy League

Brethren Christian 37, Sage Hill 35 (OT)


SH 5 – 6 – 15 – 4 – 5 — 35

BC 8 – 4 – 8 – 10 – 7 — 37

SH – Soleimany 22, Kreitenberg 5, Danner 4, Bolen 4.

3-pt. goals – Soleimany 2.

Fouled out – Kreitenberg.

Technicals – None.

BC – Rudd 13, Hodges 6, Demazeliere 6, Hammond 5, Desler 3, Sakata 2, Jensen 2

3-pt. goals – Desler 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

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