LAKE ELSINORE ---- All season, Temescal Canyon's girls basketball team feasted on offensive rebounds. On Wednesday night, a lack of second helpings ushered the Titans out of the postseason.
Senior Arica Nassar scored a game-high 25 points, but the Titans shot 27 percent from the floor, didn't win enough battles in the paint and suffered a 54-48 loss to visiting La Puente Bishop Amat in the CIF Southern Section Division III-A quarterfinals.
"Usually, our best tool that we have is our offensive rebounds," Temescal Canyon coach Sarah Brust said. "Unfortunately tonight, that was the one thing we didn' t have. We had six offensive rebounds in the first half and we usually have six or more in the first quarter.
"It's unfortunate that it happened in this game."
All told, Temescal Canyon (25-3) outrebounded Bishop Amat, 26-25. But the Titans collected only nine offensive rebounds in the game, limiting their chances for putbacks on a night that saw Temescal Canyon shoot 17-of-63 from the floor, including 3-of-14 from beyond the arc.
The 6-foot-1 Nassar and 6-foot sophomore Janae Peterson began to correct some of those shortcomings in the fourth quarter, with Nassar scoring 11 points in the frame and Peterson hitting two key 3-pointers en route to a 13-point day.
The second of those shots tied the game at 45 with 2 minutes remaining after the Lancers (24-6) started the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead.
But a Temescal Canyon foul put Bishop Amat in the bonus, the Lancers hit seven of 10 foul shots in the frame and Andrea Villanueva opened up a 52-48 lead inside the final 18 seconds of the game.
"We could have taken them if it wasn't for our rebounding," said Nassar, who said she has verballed to Oregon State. " ... We had a lot of rushed shots. We can't be on our game every day. It's just sad that this was the game that we weren't on."
Nassar added a game-high nine rebounds to go with a 25-point day that saw her score at a frenetic pace in the first and fourth quarters. But dogged with a relentless double team, she hit on just 1-of-5 shots in the middle frames as the Lancers opened up 38-27 lead on a 10-0 run to close the third quarter.
"We were able to collapse off some of the other players a little bit and have some of the other players try to make the shots," said Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard, whose team is back in the semis after playing in five state title games in the last seven years. " ... By and large, we did a good job of that and we kept her off the boards for the most part, because (Nassar) is an incredible athlete."
Vianai Austin led the Lancers with 13 points, including a 3-pointer to close that key 10-0 run, and Michelle Yamamoto (12) and Leeah Powell (11) each finished in double figures in ousting a Titans team a year removed from back-to-back one-win campaigns in the Southwestern League.
"Every season has to end at some point," said Brust, whose team beat Perris twice en route to a Sunbelt League championship. "It just stinks that this is how it had to end."