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Roundup: No drama this time as CdM falls to La Cañada

STAFF WRITER

Their thrilling first installment produced plenty of drama: a double-digit fourth-quarter comeback and a controversial buzzer-beating winner.

It also also left open the prospect for a rematch somewhere down the road.

While the excitement and anticipation for Saturday night’s sequel between Corona del Mar and La Cañada was undeniable pregame, the sequel did not quite live up to the original.

Cousins Sarah and Kristina Kurdoghlian combined to score 30 points and spearheaded a relentless defensive effort that proved to be too overwhelming for the visiting Sea Kings, who fell to the Spartans, 57-39, in the CIF Division IV Southern California Regional quarterfinals at La Cañada High.

Just two weeks after suffering a heartbreaking 55-52 loss in the CIF-Southern Section semifinals, Corona del Mar (24-8) saw its season officially ended in the same gymnasium.

“Revenge was not part of our game plan,” Sea Kings coach Mark Decker said after the game. “Coming in, we thought there were a lot of things we didn’t do the first game that – if we did – we’d have a really good chance to win. But from start to finish, they played a lot better.”

La Cañada’s full-court defensive pressure gave Corona del Mar fits throughout the evening. The Sea Kings turned the ball over 21 times in total, and were called for a handful of traveling and double-dribble penalties throughout.

“It’s as good as we’ve seen all year,” Decker said of the Spartans defense.

Senior center Natalia Bruening led CdM with 18 points, and scored seven of the team’s nine points in the opening quarter.

Leading 16-9 early, the Spartans (28-4) opened the second quarter on a quick 6-0 spurt, grabbing a 22-9 lead and forcing CdM to call a timeout. The Sea Kings could never cut the lead to anything fewer than nine points from that point on, and trailed by double digits for 21 of the game’s final 22 minutes.

“This group of seniors has done incredible things: three straight (CIF) semifinals, three straight years in the state playoffs,” Decker added. “Those things have never been done at CdM, so they’ve left a real great legacy and I’m proud of them.

“Except for one team, there’s always somebody better than you, somewhere. This year it was La Cañada for us.”

In Division I:

Brea Olinda 61, Alemany 46: Reili Richardson (32), Jasmine Rachal (17) and Tyiona Watkins (12) were the Ladycats’ only three scorers, but the trio’s output proved to be plenty in Brea’s 15-point road victory.

The Ladycats will be at Troy for the regional semifinals on Tuesday. Tory was a 72-54 winner over Santa Barbara on Saturday.

In Division II:

Mater Dei 69, Crescenta Valley 32: Ally Rosenblum finished with a game-high 16 points and Jayda Adams added 15 for the Monarchs.

Fairmont Prep 58, Ventura 39: The Huskies hit 10 3-pointers, including three by Tristen Rollon, who led all scorers with 17 points. Fairmont Prep will be at Mater Dei for Tuesday night’s semifinal.

In Division III:

Orange Lutheran 38, Agoura 23: Senior forward Gloria Bates led all scorers with 13 points, and the Lancers defense dominated again. Orange Lutheran held its fourth straight opponent to fewer than 30 points.

In Tuesday’s semifinals, Orange Lutheran will host Mark Keppel, a team it lost to in December, 55-53.

Contact the writer: kconnnolly@ocregister.com


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