PASADENA — Make it 58 consecutive league wins.
The St. Monica Academy girls’ basketball team needed a victory against Sequoyah School at New Revelation Baptist Church on Friday to maintain its undefeated National League run, as well as extend an impressive streak.
The Crusaders jumped out to a 33-0 halftime lead and never relinquished their advantage, though the Gryphons made a short run in the third.
St. Monica gave up six points in the third quarter and shut out Sequoyah in the first, second and fourth quarters to win, 53-6, and finish unbeaten in league ahead of Division V-AA postseason play.
It marked the 58th straight league victory for the Crusaders.
“We always talk about not turning the ball over and playing defense, and the rest will take care of itself,” said St. Monica first-year coach Ric Allard, whose team secured its sixth straight league title earlier in the week. “You don’t know if you’re going to score 20 or 80, but if you play defense, you always have a chance. That’s our motto. Play defense, get rebounds and take care of the ball.”
Indeed, rebounding was the name of the game for the Crusaders (13-4, 8-0 in league), especially in the first quarter, led by the sister duo of senior Kristina and sophomore Karinna Turricchi. The two combined for five offensive rebounds, five steals, three assists and 12 points as St. Monica led, 23-0, at he end of the first quarter.
“I think [Kristina and I] have a secret power,” said Karinna Turrichi, who had 10 points in the first quarter. “No, but definitely [a sister connection]. At home, we practice together, we’re always playing basketball with our friends together, so it’s definite sister bond.”
The younger Turrichi finished with a game-high 12 points, four steals and tallied seven rebounds, three offensive, in the first quarter.
The senior Turrichi posted seven points, eight rebounds and four assists.
“We’ve played for two years together and after playing for a year you kind of know where you’re going to be on the court, especially just turning, looking, and [communicating],” Kristina Turrichi said.
The Crusaders scored 10 points in each of the final three quarters and the Gryphons (1-5, 1-4) put up all six of their points in the third quarter.
Sequoyah knocked down one of two free throws at 6:51 in the third, then added a bank shot at 2:41 and a three-pointer at 1:21 to cap its scoring for the quarter.
The Gryphons only mustered one field goal attempt in each of the first two quarters.
“We’ve been experimenting when we play teams like this who we’re much stronger than,” Allard said. “It helps us at least to put them in different positions, try some different passes, switch our defenses around and I learn something. We film all the games and then we learn from it.”
With the CIF Southern Section playoff drawing to be released Sunday, Allard said his battle-tested team will be ready for any team they draw.
“We’re not year-round players, but they’re tough and they’re smart,” Allard said. “Even in the games we’ve lost this year against bigger schools, they don’t score more than 30 points because we’ll always fight and keep ourselves in the game that way. Unless we play against an all-club team, we shouldn’t get blown out. We should either win or compete against whomever.”