SAN MARCOS Mission Hills blew open a close game in the second quarter and went on to beat Carlsbad 66-52 Tuesday in a San Diego Section first-round Division I girls basketball playoff game.
The fifth-seeded Grizzlies (17-11) led by 16 at the half and pushed the advantage to 27 early in the fourth quarter.
Mission Hills played the first game of a girls-boys doubleheader and the entire team left the gym quickly, making the short trip across the 78 to scout Vista, Friday’s quarterfinal opponent.
“We got after it pretty good, but I didn’t like the way we finished,” said Mission Hills coach Chris Kroesch. “We need to continue to play defense the whole game.
“Some things are out of your control. Shots aren’t always going to fall, but you can always play hard on defense.
“Credit Carlsbad with some of that. They have a lot of pride and made a nice run at the end. Their seniors made it a game.”
The Lancers (12-16) cut the deficit to 13 with 2:30 to play, but the Grizzlies quickly pushed it back to 17 to end the suspense.
Leigh Anne Fria led Mission Hills with 19 points as eight Grizzlies scored. Freshman Emily Nunez added 14 points, hitting four 3-pointers.
The Grizzlies forced 28 Carlsbad turnovers, 10 in the second quarter.
Mission Hills had a 48-40 rebound advantage. At one time, Mission Hills held a 20-0 advantage on the offensive boards as five Grizzlies had at least five rebounds.
“We did a really good job on the boards, but we also missed a bunch of offensive putbacks,” Kroesch said. “As we get deeper in the playoffs, we can’t do that.”
Adrianna Huetter paced Carlsbad with 22 points, 11 in the fourth quarter. She hit five 3-pointers and had 10 rebounds.
Nicky Piancastelli added 12 points for the Lancers, seven in the fourth quarter.
“We have a young team (two freshmen, three sophomores, three juniors and four seniors), so it was good for us to face a good test in the first round,” Kroesch said. “There are always some jitters in a first-round playoff game.
“Once we hit some shots, we were able to relax and play.
“Hopefully this helps us down the road.”