By Adam Stites/Garden Grove Journal
Rancho Alamitos earned itself a share of the lead in the Garden Grove League in girls’ basketball by handing the Los Amigos Lobos their only loss of the season in league play with a 48-47 thriller on Monday, Feb. 7.
Rancho’s only loss in league came to Los Amigos just weeks earlier by a score of 63-48. With the victory, the league record of both teams reached 8-1. Pending the results of the season finales for each team on Wednesday night, the teams will likely split the league title and their seeding for the CIF playoffs will be left to a coin flip.
The Vaqueros jumped out to the early lead and took a three-point lead into halftime, but a strong third quarter for the Lobos put Rancho in a three point hole heading into the fourth quarter.
With just 1:24 left in the game, Rancho Alamitos senior Breanna Patton sank a shot to give the Vaqueros a 48-47 lead. Strong defense by Rancho forced a Los Amigos turnover with 58 seconds left and a Cindy Guerrero miss with 20 seconds remaining.
With just seven seconds remaining the Lobos fouled senior Lina Semaia of the Vaqueros to preserve the few seconds left on the clock. When Semaia missed her first free throw the ball was live and, with no timeouts remaining, Los Amigos had one last chance to rush down the floor and take a potential game winning shot, but the Rancho defense held strong and didn’t allow a final shot.
“I always tell them that when we play basketball the only thing we can control is what we do out there. One play at a time and that’s what we did today,” said Rancho Alamitos head coach Anh Tung Than.
Than stressed the improvement of his team’s man defense in the rematch of the two strongest teams in the Garden Grove League. “Last time we played [Los Amigos] they came out shooting lights out. They hit a few three pointers and we were in a hole. We were trying to dig out of it and we couldn’t make up the deficit. The difference today was playing good man defense and staying out on their shooters.”
The next games for Los Amigos and Rancho Alamitos will both be on Thursday, Feb. 17 in the first round of the CIF playoffs.
The names of their opponents in those games will be released on Sunday, Feb. 13 on the CIF Southern Section website.