Ea­gles hold on to de­feat Lancers

Lan­caster uses solid re­bound­ing to get play­off win

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By GERRY PRICE

LAN­CASTER — In a game that matched dom­i­nat­ing re­bound­ing against pres­sure de­fense, the re­bound­ing edge proved the difference as the Lan­caster High School girls bas­ket­ball team held off vis­it­ing Thou­sand Oaks, 59-52, Thurs­day night in the open­ing round of the CIF-South­ern Sec­tion Divi­sion 3AA play­offs.

The vic­tory moves the Ea­gles (187) into a sec­ond-round match at home against San Juan Hills (22-5), which de­feated Cha­parral 59-49 on Thurs­day. Thou­sand Oaks ends its sea­son at 18-10.

Lan­caster had quite a bit of dif­fi­culty with the vis­it­ing Lancers’ pres­sure in the early going, al­low­ing the vis­i­tors to jump out to a 14-5 lead. But layups by ju­nior for­ward Rayshanti McNeal-Price and se­nior guard Brook­lyn Curry and a re­bound bas­ket by McNeal-Price cut the mar­gin to 1411 at the end of the first quar­ter.

Thou­sand Oaks opened the lead up to five points early in the sec­ond pe­riod, but a three-point shot by ju­nior guard Kristen Lopez and a layup by ju­nior for­ward Vanessa Fletes tied the score at 18-all. The vis­i­tors then re­took the lead at 21-18 be­fore the Ea­gles scored the fi­nal nine points of the pe­riod, seven by Lopez, for a 27-21 half­time edge.

The third quar­ter was all Lan­caster as the Ea­gles used a series of layups (three by McNeal-Price and four by sopho­more guard Mea Madi­son) to open up a 41-29 ad­van­tage just be­fore the end of the pe­riod.

That lead grew to 13 at 46-33 at the start of the fi­nal pe­riod, but the Lancers used more pres­sure de­fense, es­pe­cially on in­bounds passes, and some key three-point shoot­ing to fuel a 10-0 run, nar­row­ing the score to 46-43 with just un­der four min­utes to

play, and pulled to within one at 49-48 with about 2:30 left.

How­ever, a re­bound bas­ket by McNeal-Price and a free throw by Fletes pushed the lead back to four, and layups by Fletes and Curry fol­lowed by a 3-pointer by Lopez kept the vis­i­tors at bay down the stretch as the Lancers’ shoot­ing went ice cold.

McNeal-Price led a bal­anced Lan­caster at­tack with 16 points, while Lopez con­trib­uted 13 and Madi­son and Fletes added 11 each.

Se­nior guard Katie Messer led the Lancers with 24 points and se­nior guard Jess Ma­gal­lenes put in 12.

“I’m so proud of the way we played as a team,” Ea­gles head coach Jes­sica Mor­ri­son said. “We al­ways stress that ev­ery play mat­ters.

“I’m re­ally glad it worked out for the team.”

ME­GAN WIDICK/Spe­cial to the Val­ley Press

TAK­ING IT IN — Lan­caster’s Brook­lyn Curry (24) drives the ball down the court against Thou­sand Oaks’ Sam So­bel (2) dur­ing Thurs­day’s CIF-South­ern Sec­tion Divi­sion 3AA play­off game.

ME­GAN WIDICK/Spe­cial to the Val­ley Press

GOING UP — Lan­caster’s Rayshanti McNeal-Price goes up for a bas­ket against Thou­sand Oaks on Thurs­day. The Ea­gles won their first-round play­off game 59-52.

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