Brea Olinda's Reili Richardson, left, makes a move to the basket between Oaks Christian's Savannah Faalevao, center, to score Saturday in the CIF-SS Open Division girls basketball playoff at Brea Olinda.

Brea Olinda's 1-2 punch too much for Oaks Christian


It’s the nature of the beast that is the Open Division, but it was fully expected when the CIF-Southern Section’s draw revealed such a deep bracket.

Second-seeded Brea Olinda needed a combined 46 points from Tyiona Watkins and Reili Richardson to outlast No. 15 Oaks Christian of Westlake Village, 64-53, in an Open Division first-round game Saturday night at Brea Olinda High.

After a nine-day layoff, the Ladycats (24-2) reeled off their 18th consecutive win and will travel to play Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth on Wednesday night. The 10th-seeded Trailblazers notched a 66-63 win over Cajon in their first-round matchup.

“I guess if you’re a fan, the Open Division is the greatest thing ever invented,” Brea coach Jeff Sink said after the game. “If you’re a coach? Wow. Every game is going to be like that. Oaks Christian is a very good team. I thought they were way underrated. I did not think they were the 15 seed.”

As productive as the Richardson-Watkins combo has proved to be for Brea, the Lions (19-7) countered well with a pair of versatile guards in Roxy Barahman and Katie Campbell. The Oaks Christian backcourt tallied 41 points, no two points prettier than Barahman’s spinning layup through the lane that put the Lions up by two with a little more than two minutes to play in the first half.

Brea regained the lead for good with an 8-1 run to take a 36-31 edge into halftime.

In playing tight man-to-man defense on Barahman, Campbell and forward Sydney Boyer in the second half, the Ladycats allowed their other two on-court defenders to float when Oaks Christian had possession, forcing the Lions role players to make open jumpers.

“Sometimes they were calling their zone offense, sometimes their man offense, so they were confused,” Sink said. “The other kids did not hit shots for them and we were able to dominate on the glass.”

Clinging to a 40-39 lead with 1:30 to play in the third, Brea closed the quarter on a 7-0 run. Watkins finished with a game-high 24 points, and Richardson tallied 22.

Also in the Open Division:

Troy 43, Alemany 41: Kianna Smith buried a pair of crucial fourth quarter 3-pointers and Barbara Sitanggan iced the game with late free throws, leading the ninth-seeded Warriors into Wednesday’s second round. Troy will host No. 1 Long Beach Poly.

Etiwanda 64, Mater Dei 54: After reaching the division’s championship game each of the past two seasons, the sixth-seeded Monarchs were bounced to the consolation bracket by the visiting Eagles. Ally Rosenblum led Mater Dei with 18 points, but the Monarchs were never able to bounce back after scoring just four points in the second quarter.

Long Beach Poly 61, Fairmont Prep 13: The top-seeded Jackrabbits showcased their defensive prowess early on, holding the San Joaquin League champs to a single point in the first quarter. Fairmont Prep (19-7) will play Alemany High in the division’s consolation bracket.

In Division 1AA:

Orangewood Academy 58, Pacifica of Oxnard 21: Estafania Giner finished with a game-high 13 points and the Spartans defense held the host Tritons to just four second-half points to punch their ticket to next week’s quarterfinal round.

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