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ROSE PALMISANO, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Canyon's Michele Ballestero shoots against Segerstrom during the Santa Ana Elks/Billy Tees Classic girls basketball tournament Thursday at Segerstrom.

Canyon holds on behind Ballestero

OCVARSITY.COM

Michele Ballestero scored nine of her 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Canyon hold off Segerstrom, 52-46, in the Santa Ana Elks Classic on Thursday night at Segerstrom.

The Comanches (7-5) advanced to the semifinals, where they will face Century League-rival Foothill today at 7:30 p.m. at Segerstrom.

“She did a good job,” first-year Canyon coach Sarah Hoffman said of Ballestero. “It helps to have good defense to be able to translate that into good offense for us, so it worked out pretty good.”

Alabama State-bound Kayla Stephens turned in a valiant effort for the Jaguars (4-4), scoring 35 points and hauling in 14 rebounds.

The Comanches' lead grew to 11 points, but Stephens helped the Jaguars come charging back in the third quarter to tie it, 32-32, heading into the fourth quarter.

That's when Ballestero got the hot hand. But Stephens and Segerstrom didn't go quietly. Stephens' three-point play and Nancy De La Cruz's two free throws cut the deficit to 50-46 in the final 91 seconds.

Canyon's Shaye Uyematsu delivered the backbreaker when she made a layup with the shot clock winding down that gave the Comanches a six-point lead with 23.1 seconds remaining.

In the Nike Tournament of Champions:

No. 1 Mater Dei 62, Homewood-Flossmoor of Flossmoor, Ill., 61: Katie Lou Samuelson drained two free throws with three seconds left to lift the Monarchs (6-0) over the Vikings (5-1), ranked No. 5 in the nation, in the first round of the Joe Smith Division in Chandler, Ariz.

Mater Dei is ranked No. 1 in the state by CalHiSports.com and No. 1 in the nation by ESPN.

Samuelson finished with 38 points, including 16 points from the foul line, and 14 rebounds. Amarah Coleman, one of the top recruits in the Midwest, scored a team-high 23 points for Homewood-Flossmoor.

Huntington Beach 44, Boulder Creek of Anthem, Ariz., 25: Paola Roa scored 14 points and Frankie Wade-Sanchez added 10 as the Oilers (8-0) knocked off the Jaguars (6-4) in the first round of the Red Division.

In the Spartan Classic:

Orangewood Academy 49, Godinez 22: Carolina Montes scored 13 points as the Spartans (8-2) beat the Grizzlies (3-8) to earn a spot in the tournament's championship game.

Contact the writer: carias@ocregister.com


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