SAN MARCOS A bad experience last season, a championship game loss to Palo Verde, paid a dividend Thursday.
A poised Escondido Adventist Academy team put last year’s loss behind it and beat The Rock 52-31 for the San Diego Section Division V girls basketball championship at San Marcos High.
“We fell short last year, so to finish as champions feels great,” said EAA coach Mario Perez. “It was so neat to get back to this game. And to finish it off is that much better.
“We had nine returners from last year’s team, so we knew what to expect.”
The girls had to wait through three overtimes in the boys Division V game, but Perez said his girls were relaxed and enjoyed watching the boys.
Second-seeded EAA (23-4) led 12-11 after the first quarter, then forced 13 Rock turnovers in the second quarter to take a 29-15 lead at the break.
Another 11 turnovers by The Rock (24-4) in the third quarter put the Warriors behind by 17.
“This is the way we play — defense, quick, aggressive,” said EAA’s Chynna Cochran. “We got after it pretty good.
“It really helps to have played in this game last year and in this gym.
“It’s kind of our second home. We were pretty nervous last year. This year we were much more relaxed.”
Camille Chu led EAA with 17 points while Cochran finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Chloe Cochran added 13 points for the Hawks.
“We played really well,” Perez said. “We had fun. We had great student support. This is really pretty special.”