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STEVEN GEORGES, FOR THE REGISTER
Wendy Shiga and Sarah Lipton, far right, of the Woodbridge girls basketball team celebrate with their team after defeating Sonora 55-53 Thursday night at Sonora.

Lipton delivers clutch shot for Woodbridge

OCVARSITY.COM

Woodbridge's Sarah Lipton is a shooter. The senior guard/forward is free to take just about any shot in the Warriors' offense.

"We still need to get her shots if we're going to be successful," Woodbridge coach Pete Belanto said. "We live and die with her."

The Warriors survived Thursday, barely.

Lipton's 3-pointer with 7.7 seconds remaining capped a furious comeback by Woodbridge in a 55-53 nonleague victory against Sonora at Sonora High.

"I got to keep shooting until I make it," Lipton said. "I can't stop. It's my thing."

Sonora led 51-42 in the final minutes, but then saw its lead quickly shrink following consecutive 3-pointers by guards Shelby Davis and Kelli Robinson. Sonora guard Lauren Nakahara broke a 52-all tie with a free throw in the final minute. Woodbridge called timeout and drew up a play for Lipton, who did not make a field goal in the first half.

The No. 6 Warriors (14-2) ran the same play last week at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic but Lipton's shot fell short, her team suffering its first loss after a 12-0 start. This time, Belanto told Lipton that if she had an open 3 rather than a midrange jumper or layup, to take it. Lipton didn't hesitate.

"I was thinking whether or not to do a layup or a pull-up," Lipton said. "I thought it would just come to me. I guess the 3 was the answer. It was pretty crazy."

Lipton, the county's second leading scorer (20.2), had just 11 points while being guarded by Sonora forward Avalon James. Lipton matched the defensive display as she limited Sonora center Kylie Rodriguez and, later, scorching guard Megan Campos. Warriors guard Wendy Shiga had 19 points.

"Sonora has such good defense," Lipton said. "They really scouted us well."

The Raiders (13-4) trailed 25-15 late in the first half before going on a 10-0 run to tie it at halftime. The Raiders, behind a stellar defensive effort, didn't trail for the entire second half until Lipton's bomb.

"We did a great job defensively for the first three quarters. We did a good job executing our offense," Sonora coach Melissa Barajas. "But we got undisciplined at the end. We panicked."

Campos had a game-high 23 points and Nakahara had 13 points.

"They outplayed us for 30 minutes and we hung around," Belanto said. "We're fortunate to win. We didn't quit. We kept coming, kept coming, kids stayed together. I was little nervous. We'll take it."

In the Sunset League:

Los Alamitos 56, Marina 32: Neah Odom scored 24 points and Dani Iwami added 13 to lead the visiting Griffins (14-4, 1-0).

In nonleague games:

Sunny Hills 52, Gabrielino of San Gabriel 37: Madison Cruse scored 27 points with four 3-pointers, 11 rebounds and four steals to lead the host Lancers over the Eagles.


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