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Hesitant shooter lifts Granite Hills

03/07/2013, 1:16pm PST
By Bill Dickens special to the u-t

Eagles defeat Corona Centennial in Southern California Regional Division I playoffs.

— Granite Hills senior starter Leena Alyashaa did not attempt a single shot for the first three quarters of Wednesday’s Southern California Regional girls basketball playoff opener.

In fact, she released only two shots in the final period, both of which were pivotal in the Eagles’ come-from-behind 59-54 victory over visiting Corona Centennial.

Alyashaa hit a 3-pointer, extending the Eagles’ advantage to 56-50 and then scored the next Granite Hills basket to make it 58-52 with 1:03 remaining.

“I keep telling her she needs to shoot at least 10 times a game,” said senior teammate Skylar Williams, who scored a game-high 31 points. “Leena is an excellent shooter — she hits everything in practice.”

Even before Alyashaa took her first shot she hesitated before releasing the ball.

“With the game as intense as it was I wasn’t real confident about shooting at that point,” Alyashaa said.

When she did, the capacity crowd jumped to its collective feet. That obviously boosted her confidence, and the next time down she went in for a layup.

“No doubt, I’ve never hit bigger shots than those,” said Alyashaa, who added seven rebounds and three blocks.

The Eagles (28-6) trailed 32-21 early in the second half and didn’t catch the Huskies (24-5) until Williams hit a long range 3-pointer to tie the game at 38-38 at the buzzer.

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