Gaels victory not in Cards

LOS ANGELES — The Holy Family High basketball team fought, battled and grinded through all four quarters of Thursday afternoon's CIF Southern Section Division 5-AA first-round playoff game against Bishop Diego. No loose ball went unchased and a solid effort was given on each possession.

Despite the hustle, the Gaels still ended up on the wrong end of a 53-28 score against Bishop Diego at Bishop Conaty-Loretto, ending their season at 5-17.

Gaels Coach Ernest Siy was still plenty proud of his players, however.

"It's a whole different world outside of theHorizon [League]," Siy said. "We've said all season that it doesn't matter if we win or lose, we want to play our best and we want to put maximum effort out there."

The Cardinals of theTri-ValleyLeague moved to 10-17 and advanced to the next round. Greer Shull dominated for Bishop Diego, torching the Gaels for 24 points. The junior guard also added seven rebounds and two assists.

Holy Family was led by sophomore guard Alex Mata's 13-point performance. Forward Jennifer Rodriguez, in her final game as a Gael, scored six points and grabbed four rebounds.

"We brought [Mata] up to varsity at the beginning of the season and she kind of lacked confidence," Siy said. "But today we saw that her confidence has improved and she's at the level we want her to be. She's going to be a big contributor for us next year and she's probably going to be our starting point or two-guard."

Mata got the Gaels going in the first quarter, scoring from behind the arc. Rodriguez then followed with a short jumper to tie the game at 5. Holy Family stayed close through the first and was down just four at the start of the second quarter.

With Holy Family down, 28-14, at the half, Bishop Diego came out of the gate hot, scoring on its first six possessions. With 5:12 left to play in the third, Shull converted a three-point play to cap off the 14-2 run that left the Gaels behind, 42-16.

Now with significant ground to make up, the Gaels struggled to maintain possession of the ball and the defense faltered.

"We weren't playing good transition defense or half-court defense," Siy said. "They were getting their way with us in the paint, they were getting their way with us on the perimeter and we just weren't closing out. We weren't getting a hand in the shooter's face."

While turnovers were a problem for the Cardinals also, their ability to make up for it in transition was a difference maker.

"I have to give credit to Bishop Diego, they're a good team," Siy said. "Even though they were an at-large entry, they come from a very tough league and they beat us fair and square."

Siy maintained an optimistic standpoint when it comes to the final score. Lessons are learned both on and off the court in postseason play, Siy said, and he feels his squad has plenty to learn from.

"This stuff is all relevant," Siy said. "All of them are going to move on to something in life that is bigger than basketball. As long as they get life lessons here, then we've done our job."

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