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Brea Olinda takes over at end, wins Ladycat Classic

STAFF WRITER

BREA It was the first real bit of adversity Brea Olinda’s girls basketball team had encountered in this young season, but thanks in large part to its one-two punch, the Ladycats passed with flying colors down the stretch.

With their team hanging on to a two-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, Tyiona Watkins and Reili Richardson sparked an 18-2 run over the next five minutes of play, and No. 2 Brea Olinda surged past Serra of Gardena, 65-50, in the championship game of the Ladycat Classic Monday night at Brea Olinda High.

Watkins led all scorers with 28 points, while Richardson tallied 19.

After Serra cut the Ladycats lead to 45-43 on the opening possession of the fourth, the Brea duo scored the team’s next 18 points, and limited the Cavaliers to just one field goal the remainder of the game.

“We’re really young so it’s going to be a maturation process for us the entire year,” said Brea coach Jeff Sink, referring to the 13 underclassmen on his roster. “In big games like this, you cringe a little bit because they’re going to make mistakes.”

After a sloppy first quarter from both squads, Watkins’ mid-range game allowed Brea to get some breathing room by halftime. The ultra-athletic sophomore wing scored 12 points in the second quarter alone, going 6-for-6 from the field, cashing in on open looks from the elbow.

“She never missed, it was just money,” Sink said of Watkins. “We made some nice calls to get her those looks, but she still has to knock those shots down.”

The Ladycats (4-0) took a 30-22 edge into the half, and maintained that lead until late in the third quarter when Serra (6-2) went on a 13-6 run into the fourth quarter, turning a nine-point deficit into a one-possession game.

After setting Watkins up for much of the night, Richardson picked up her scoring in the fourth. The senior guard scored 12 points in the final eight minutes, securing both the win and the tournament MVP award.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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