WOMEN’S HOOP SCOOP: Beaumont, MGA reach prep playoffs … Lady Bulldogs drop heartbreaker to Pomona-Pitzer … UCR on 3-game winning streak … Defending state champs No. 12 in State.
Beaumont High’s 2018-2019 co-Mountain Pass League championship, it seemed, came out of nowhere.
At one point this season, the Lady Cougars seemed lifeless, content to show up and play four quarters. Back-to-back losses, both by 11 points, to Hemet and San Jacinto made it four straight losses and nine of their previous 10 games.
All of a sudden, though, Beaumont started a winning streak.
Hemet and San Jacinto, teams that had beaten the Lady Cougars in the first of two rounds of league play, couldn’t win the rematches.
The other three teams — Perris Citrus Hill, Hemet Tahquitz and West Valley — withered against the Lady Cougars’ defense.
Defense took over in a 5-point win over San Jacinto. Tali Delgado came up with four steals and five points, plus a team-leading 19 points. Cristina Baltazar covered the middle, coming up with seven rebounds and three assists. Janessa Pilao blocked a shot, scored 12 and hauled in five rebounds.
San Jacinto’s Sydney Woodley, averaging 20 points a game, scored 11. In the Lady Tigers’ win over Beaumont, she netted 36.
It was a similar turnaround against Hemet, limited to 37 points, including a 1-point opening quarter against the Lady Cougars’ tightened defense. Nineteen days earlier, Hemet racked up 54 against Beaumont.
(Records as of Feb. 4)
Banning (7-17, 6-8 Desert Valley) – At 22-2 overall, Cathedral City bore through the league schedule with wins in all 14 games, including 50- and 27- point wins over the Lady Broncos.
It will be interesting to see how the Lady Lions, Twentynine Palms (20-8, 11-3), Coachella Valley (15-6, 10-4) and Yucca Valley (16-10, 9-5) will do in the post-season.
Playoffs: None this season, cracking a 6-year run of post-season appearances.
Beaumont (15-11, 8-2 Mountain Pass co-champions) – The Lady Cougars hit stride in early January and went for the shutout against an overmatched Hemet West Valley team last week, winning 73-6. Two nights later, Beaumont clinched the co-championship with a win at Perris Citrus Hill while San Jacinto stopped Tahquitz.
Playoffs: San Dimas (14-12), third in the Valle Vista League this past season, played the Lady Cougars on Thursday. The winner would likely get the Division 3A No. 2 seed, Riverside Patriot.
Mesa Grande Academy (17-3, 11-1 Victory League co-champions) – The Bob Walker-coached Lady Cardinals haven’t lost since Dec. 28 and their suffocating defense has surrendered four points in a win over Palm Springs Desert Chapel and seven points in beating Redlands Adventist Academy against overmatched teams.
Rachel Langford went crazy against RAA in coming up with 10 steals against a helpless team.
Playoffs: To reach Saturday’s second round Div. 5A playoff, San Jacinto Valley Academy (9-7) must crack the Lady Cardinals’ pressure defense.
(Records as of Feb. 4)
Cal Baptist (10-10, 3-4 WAC) — Utah Valley-Provo made it close at CBU after one half, trailing by five, but the Lady Lancers’ 25-8 run in the first 10 minutes led to a 29-point win.
Emma Merrigioli (21 points) hits six of CBU’s 16 3-pointers.
Cal State San Bernardino (9-11, 8-8 CCAA) – On the road: A loss at Cal State East Bay and a win at Monterey Bay. In beating the Sea Otters, Jasmine Sauser’s 21 points, Jamellia Clark’s 16 rebounds and San Gorgonio product Tatianna Russell’s 13 points off the bench, which keeps the Lady Coyotes in a 4-team bunch for the top 8 in CCAA tournament play.
Two big games upcoming: One of those 4-team combatants, San Marcos (10-8, 7-7), plays at Coussoulis Arena this week. The other game is unbeaten nationally-ranked No. 2 UC San Diego (18-0, 14-0) on Saturday night.
UC Riverside (10-11, 4-3 Big West) – The Lady Highlanders took a 3-game winning streak — Long Beach State, Hawaii, UC Santa Barbara — into this week’s game against Cal State Fullerton (11-9, 3-4). Jannon Otto, Malou De Kergret and Daphne Gnago combined for 62 points in a 73-60 win over Santa Barbara.
University of Redlands (8-13, 5-7 SCIAC) – Believe it or not, the Lady Bulldogs almost snuck out of Pomona-Pitzer with a win, but a heartbreaking 71-70 loss knocked Redlands into a tie for sixth place. Needing a fourth place finish to nail down a post-season conference berth, Redlands has last place Occidental (7-13, 1-10), third place Chapman (13-8, 8-4), fifth place Cal Lutheran (8-12, 5-6) and Caltech (8-12, 2-9) to finish out its season.
As for the Lady Bulldogs’ loss to Pomona-Pitzer, Cassandra Lacey missed a 3-point shot as time expired. Minutes earlier, Claire Olmstead’s layup gave Redlands a 64-56 lead.
Mt. San Jacinto (18-6, 3-0 PCAC-North) – The defending state champs rose to No. 12 in the statewide poll last week, still chasing unbeaten Diablo Valley (21-0), Moorpark (21-1) and Merced (20-2), the top three ranked teams in California.
Five days after its highly-anticipated duel against Palomar-San Marcos, MSJ gunned down San Bernardino Valley, which used just six players, by 61 points.