GLENDALE — Under first-year Coach Stephen Nelson, the Glendale Adventist Academy girls' basketball team advanced to the postseason by finishing third in the Liberty League. Steady defensive play late in the regular season helped the Cougars punch their ticket to the CIF Southern Section Division VI-AA playoffs.
Unfortunately for Glendale Adventist, it couldn't keep that level up, as it saw its season come to a close with a 33-19 road loss against sixth-seeded Tarbut V'Torah in the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday night.
"They just outhustled us," said Nelson, whose team finished 8-9. "We couldn't make any stops on defense and we couldn't finish it up on offense.
"I think we were anxious early on and we were hesitant. In the second half, we got to the net better."
Tarbut V'Torah (17-4) led, 14-6, at halftime and never looked back.
Glendale Adventist received seven points from freshman guard Kristie Kawamoto and six from junior guard Jennifer Herrera. The Cougars also got eight rebounds and five steals from junior forward Chantel Robinson.
It wasn't enough to top the Lions, who tied for second in the San Joaquin League.
"We tried to get back in it in the second half," Nelson said. "We made a huge progression from the first game of the season to this and there's tons of room for us to grow."