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LJCD wins SoCal Regional championship

03/22/2014, 1:37pm PDT
By Craig Malveaux

Torreys to play Los Altos Hills Pinewood on Friday for Division V State Championship

La Jolla Country Day's Mai-loni Henson (shown in a game earlier this season) scored a game-high 18 points in the Torreys' regional win over Reedley Immanuel on Saturday.

— En route to its 12th regional final, La Jolla Country Day dismantled each offensive powerhouse in its path.

Shalhevet managed 19 points in the first round. Desert and View Park posted season lows of 29 and 35, respectively, in the quarterfinals and semis.

Add Reedley Immanuel to the list.

Overwhelming the Eagles with size and length, La Jolla Country Day smothered Immanuel’s offense in a 54-33 rout to capture the Southern California Regional Division V girls basketball title Saturday at Colony High.

It’s the Torreys’ seventh regional crown, tying them with six other schools for second most. Brea Olinda leads with 11 titles.

La Jolla Country Day (20-11) will play Los Altos Hills Pinewood (29-3) in the Division V State Championship game at 10 a.m. Friday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

The Torreys have won three state crowns in six final appearances — the last in 2012 when LJCD trounced Richmond Salesian 72-41 in Division IV.

“We took away what they liked to do, got some tips and deflections and rebounded well on their attempts,” said La Jolla Country Day coach Terri Bamford. “Defense wins championships.”

It laid the foundation for this victory.

Entering the match, fourth-seeded Immanuel (22-7) had eased past its opponents, averaging 71.3 points per contest behind streaky shooting.

“The only tape we had of them was their (Central Section) match,” Bamford said. “But when I read the play-by-play of their match against Horizon, you saw three after three after three on the sheet.”

No. 3 La Jolla Country Day eliminated that threat.

Contesting each attempt, the Torreys held the Eagles to 2-of-18 shooting beyond the arc and just 22.7 percent overall from the field.

Immanuel, located southeast of Fresno, made a game of it for a while.

In the third period, the Eagles cut the deficit to three points on a layup at the 3:10 mark, but La Jolla Country Day finished off Immanuel with a 28-10 run to end the game.

Torreys sophomore guard Mai-loni Henson poured in a game-high 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go with seven rebounds and four assists.

Sophomore guard Mariana Ecija chipped in 10 points and six assists for La Jolla Country Day, which shot 71.4 percent in the second half and 46.8 percent overall.

The Torreys outrebounded Immanuel 34-28, assisted on 18 field goals compared to just two for the Eagles and scored 21 points on 21 Immanuel turnovers.

Eagles senior guard Sara Vasquez finished with 14 points on 4-of-18 shooting. No other Immanuel player reached double figures.

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