Lakeside's Maia Crawley, takes a shot during the Division III-AA semifinal game against Mission Hills Alemany Saturday night.
LAKE ELSINORE Lakeside girls basketball coach Anthony Williams knew his team would have to play close to perfect to beat top-seeded Mission Hills Alemany in Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Division III-AA semifinals, but unfortunately his team proved to be its own undoing.
Turnovers, mostly unforced, plagued the Lancers as the top-seeded Warriors advanced to the championship game with a 79-54 victory at Lakeside High School.
The Lancers (24-6) turned the ball over 27 times, including 10 in the second quarter as Alemany (26-5) pulled away.
“It was just too many unforced turnovers,” Williams said. “I don’t think it was anything special they did to us. We just threw the ball away too many times. Against great teams, you can’t turn the ball over yourself.”
The turnovers masked an otherwise solid effort by the Lancers.
“I thought we played them toe-to-toe and played hard to the end,” Williams said. “If they were going to beat us, then we were going to make them earn it.”
The game started well enough for Lakeside as it jumped to a 14-8 lead in the first quarter, but then standout junior Kianna Williams picked up her third foul with 1:31 remaining in the first.
With Kianna Williams on the bench, the Warriors went on a 16-0 run to take a 24-14 lead. Williams, who already had seven points when she picked up her third foul, returned in the middle of the second quarter, but had to play passively on defense to avoid picking up her fourth foul.
“She’s our workhorse and we have to ride her,” coach Williams said.
The Lancers went into the half trailing 36-25, but came out in the third quarter on a 9-2 run to pull within four points at 38-34, but the Warriors answered back with a run of their own. Alemany went a 12-0 run to take a commanding 50-34 lead and got the fourth foul on Williams with 5:35 to play in the third.
“They hit some timely 3-pointers in the third quarter,” Williams said. “We made a run, and I thought we were right back it in, but those 3s were big.”
From there, the Lancers never got closer than nine points.
Despite the foul trouble, Williams finished with a game-high 24 points, but she was the only Lancers player in double-figures.
Leslie Lopez-Wood led five Warriors in double figures with 18 points. Clarissa Larios had 16 points and Hannah Johnson added 14 points.
Despite the loss, coach Williams hopes this is not the end of the season.
“We are going to put a bid in for (the) state (tournament),” coach Williams said. “I think we have a good shot at getting one of the at-large spots.”