Gaels end tournament on winning note

BURBANK — Gayle Lachica had grown weary from watching the losses pile up.

A six-game losing streak left Holy Family basketball player wanting to do everything in her power to snap the skid and prevent the Gaels from finishing last in the 14th annual Pioneer Shootout.

Thanks to a big effort from their senior guard, the Gaels avoided further gloom.

Lachica finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, nine steals and six assists Thursday to propel Holy Family to a 70-40 win against New Roads in the tournament's 15th-place contest at Providence High.

"It's a new team that we have and we have a lot of potential," said Lachica, whose team began the tournament with losses against L.A. Baptist, St. Genevieve and Canoga Park. "In a lot of our games, we have been freezing up when we get shots.

"I tried to distribute the ball as much as possible. We are tired of losing and we just have to stay positive. I didn't want to come in last place [in the tournament]. I wanted to win."

Lachica, a reigning All-Horizon League honoree, made sure to get the Gaels (2-8) on the right track early against New Roads (2-7). She finished with 10 points in the opening stanza.

In the first 45 seconds of the second quarter, Lachica recorded a pair of steals and converted them into four points to give Holy Family a 25-11 lead.

"I think we knew we had a shot during the first part of the first quarter," Lachica said. "I keep going until somebody tries to stop me.

"There were other times when I could distribute the ball. We got our shots in [Thursday]."

Holy Family Coach Ernest Siy said Lachica proved to be a sparkplug for the Gaels.

"You could tell with Gayle being out there and doing different things that the team's confidence level was different from the earlier games in the tournament," said Siy, who got 20 points and four steals from senior guard Clarizza Merino. "They needed a victory for a morale booster.

"She coaches on the floor and we feed off her. We were able to make the extra pass and we executed on our fast breaks. We definitely needed this win."

After Holy Family built a 36-17 halftime lead, Lachica didn't slow up. Neither did the Gaels, who won't compete again until Jan. 4 in a nonleague contest against Mary Star of the Sea.

Lachica intercepted an inbounds pass to begin the third quarter and scored on an uncontested layup. She then converted on a three-point play to extend the Gaels' lead to 43-20 with 5:23 remaining in the third quarter.

Holy Family received 12 points and 12 rebounds from junior forward Elena Lomeli.

New Roads got 18 points, six steals and three blocks from guard Kiara Rogers and eight points and 15 rebounds from center Marielle Meyers.

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