Horizon junior Dijonai Carrington grabs a rebound for the Panthers, who will face Mount Miguel in the Division I championship game.
When the buzzer sounded, Horizon’s Dijonai Carrington had nine points and 13 rebounds. Then the second quarter started.
Carrington, a 6-foot junior, went on to score 27 points and pull down 36 boards Tuesday to lead the host Panthers to a 69-49 victory over Mater Dei Catholic in the San Diego Section Division I girls basketball semifinals.
Second-seeded Horizon advanced to the title game Friday at 8 p.m. against No. 4 Mount Miguel at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
The Panthers (22-9) bolted to a 21-9 lead and never led by fewer than six despite several spurts by the Crusaders (14-16), who were led by Kristine Sellona (15 points) and Taylor Young (13 points).
“It was good to get off to a fast start,” said Carrington, the state freshman of the year two seasons ago. “Everyone played a part. I’m proud of my teammates.
“We’re still a very young team (only two seniors), but we’re playing far less scared now.”
She was helped when sophomore Sierra Rains buried all five of her shots in the third quarter, one from 3-point range, en route to scoring 19 points.
Carrington shrugged off the controversy that saw the Panthers miss the Open Division despite winning the Coastal League over La Jolla Country Day and Bishop’s, both of which were placed in the Open Division based on power rankings.
“We can control what we can control and that’s trying to win Division I,” Carrington said. “Our fate rests in God’s hands, but our goal is always to go and try to win a state championship.”
The only way the Panthers can move on to the state playoffs is to win Division I and hope Torrey Pines and Mission Hills meet for the Open Division championship. Both would be expected to play in the Open Division at state, and Horizon, with D-V enrollment, could advance as a D-I team.