Canyon, Hart back on big stage

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Since that second Hart loss, the Cowboys – who had never won a girls’ basketball playoff game before this season – have been on a Cinderella streak, reeling off four consecutive postseason upsets, including a 56-55 overtime victory Tuesday over J.W. North of Riverside in the semifinals. “That was the best feeling in the world,” said Canyon’s Christina Hall, who scored the winning basket against J.W. North with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with eight seconds remaining. Canyon won the battle between football powers, beating Hart 21-13 in the Southern Section Div. II football championship last fall. Can its magical run in girls’ basketball continue in what would surely be the hugest upset, any sport, in school history? Canyon coach Stan Delus believes the past is the past, and he has refused to allow his players to be intimidated by a Hart team brimming with talented stars such as Oregon-bound Taylor Lilley, the state’s most prolific 3-pointer shooter, who averages nearly 18 points per game. “We’re working hard preparing for this game, and we have a different mentality this time,” Delus said. “The girls are much more focused and a lot more confident, and they’re playing better basketball. We just need to stay composed and in the moment.” A legendary crosstown rivalry continues. Canyon High faces Hart tonight at 6:30 at the Pyramid at Long Beach State in the the Div. I-A girls’ basketball final. “I think the whole Santa Clarita Valley will be down in Long Beach,” Hart coach Dave Munroe said. “A lot of the players from both teams know each other, so it will be a friendly battle.” Both teams have much to prove. The Indians (26-4) makes their fourth championship appearance in five years after losing three finals in a row, from 2002 to 2004. Unseeded Canyon (23-7) wants to show it belongs on the same court as its Foothill League rival after two decisive defeats, 43-29 on Jan. 20 and 50-28 on Feb. 9 in the regular-season finale. After coming back from a 12-point deficit in the semifinals, Canyon has momentum, but it must use its height advantage effectively to stay with the Indians. The performances of 6-foot-4 center Cheryl Stevens, at least five inches taller than every Hart player, leading scorers Nikki Leon (12.4 points per game) and Brittany Thomas (9.7) are critical. Leon missed the most recent loss to Hart because of an injury, and she scored just four points in the first meeting. “When we fell behind by 12 points in the semis, I told the girls they were in a dogfight and they’ve been smacked in the mouth. It was time to play,” Delus said. “They’re mentally stronger than a lot of people give them credit for. I feel like we’re mentally strong enough to compete with any team.” Alternate defenders will concentrate on Lilley, who this season has made 107 of 209 3-pointers (52 percent), five in a 51-48 semifinal victory Tuesday over Pasadena. “We depend on Taylor and look to her as our leader,” Hart guard Amanda Sreden said. “If her shooting is not on, she’ll do it some other way.” Hart has won 14 in a row by an average margin of 19 points. Among the team’s top players are transfer Tatianna Thomas, three-year starter KaLana Inemer and 5-11 center Megan Ford, back from a knee injury that sidelined her 14 games. The Indians won back-to-back section titles in 1989 and ’90, the second in Munroe’s first season. Hart has an 11-game winning streak against Canyon and is 27-1 in the series since the Cowboys joined the Foothill League in 1992. Gerry Gittelson, (661) 257-5218 [email protected] HART (26-4) RESULTS 11/29 Palmdale W 51-38 12/7 Newbury Park W 57-43 12/8 Palmdale W 52-35 12/9 Ventura L 45-49 12/10 Westlake W 54-42 12/20 Righetti W 65-40 12/21 Newbury Park L 45-47 12/22 Chino W 54-34 12/23 Westmoor W 55-48 12/27 Magnolia W 60-48 12/28 El Dorado W 52-45 12/29 Rosary W 56-44 12/30 Santa Margarita L 34-37 1/4 Alemany W 52-27 1/6 Burbank W 62-31 1/10 Burroughs L 53-54 1/13 Valencia W 73-26 1/14 Oaks Christian W 59-43 1/17 Saugus W 60-18 1/20 Canyon W 43-29 1/25 Brentwood W 69-54 1/27 Burbank W 62-21 1/31 Burroughs W 67-36 2/3 Valencia W 68-42 2/7 Saugus W 44-28 2/9 Canyon W 50-28 *2/18* San Gabriel W 76-52 *2/22* Walnut W 77-32 *2/25* Perris W 69-56 *2/28* Pasadena W 51-48 * Playoffs ROSTER 1 Taylor Lilley Sr. 2 Britney Fitchpatrick Jr. 3 Kelli Lewis Fr. 11 Kortney Uchiyama Fr. 21 Kaylee Agaman Jr. 22 Tatianna Thomas Jr. 23 Amanda Sreden Sr. 24 Amanda Ajdari Jr. 42 Megan Ford Fr. 43 KaLana Inemer Jr. 44 Hayley Hammond Fr. Coach: Dave Munroe, 17th year CANYON (23-7) RESULTS 11/29 Hoover W 81-35 11/30 Notre Dame W 47-31 12/1 Oaks Christian W 60-30 12/2 La Canada W 53-48 12/6 Notre Dame L 55-65 12/7 Royal W 53-38 12/8 Moorpark W 56-47 12/9 El Camino Real W 61-38 12/10 Santa Ynez L 52-58 12/17 Chaminade W 61-45 12/20 Crescenta Valley W 53-26 12/26 Manual Arts W 2-Forfeit 12/27 Chaffey W 61-30 12/28 Burroughs W 49-31 12/30 Coachella Valley W 60-36 1/3 Harvard-Westlake W 64-35 1/6 Burroughs W 47-22 1/10 Saugus W 41-34 1/13 Burbank L 35-38 1/17 Valencia W 59-43 1/20 Hart L 29-43 1/27 Burroughs W 56-36 1/31 Saugus L 37-53 2/3 Burbank W 56-40 2/7 Valencia L 55-56 2/9 Hart L 28-50 2/18* Buena W 37-36 2/22* West Valley W 53-49 2/25* Marina W 43-38 2/28* J.W. North W 56-55 * Playoffs ROSTER 1 Jessica Guerrero Jr. 3 Andrea Behring Sr. 5 Brittany Thomas Sr. 10 Michelle Soriano Sr. 11 Elise Colwell Jr. 13 Brittany Graham Fr. 15 Courtney Waller Fr. 21 Beverly Young Jr. 22 Ariel Hale Fr. 24 Christina Hall Sr. 32 Nicole Leon Jr. 33 Christina Chandless So. 45 Cheryl Stevens Sr. Coach: Stan Delus, second year. GIRLS’ BASKETBALL SOUTHERN SECTION DIV. I-A CHAMPIONSHIP Who: Canyon (23-7) vs. Hart (26-4). Where: The Pyramid at Long Beach State. When: Today, 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $9 (adults), $5 (students/children). Parking: $5. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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