Rosary's Camille Lira, center, holds up the CIF Southern California Division III Regional championshp plaque as she celebrates with her teammates after their victory over Serra of San Diego in Anaheim on Saturday, March 18, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Rosary makes the right moves, advances to state title game


ANAHEIM – An hour and a half before the doors were open to the public, Rosary guard Kate Goostrey found herself alone in Servite’s gymnasium, putting up jumpers as she acclimated herself to a court she had never played on before.

A veteran move for a freshman.

It wasn’t until early in the third quarter, after Goostrey buried a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, that the coaching staff and fans alike for Serra of San Diego started pleading for one of their players – anyone really – to put a body on the energetic youngster.

With Goostrey causing fits on the perimeter and junior center Becky Obinma continuing to dominate in the post, Rosary rode a pair of 20-point performances from its inside-outside tandem to roll past Serra, 63-43, and claim the CIF Southern California Regional Division III championship on Saturday night at Servite High.

The Royals (29-5) will join fellow Trinity League mate, Mater Dei, as the two Orange County girls programs that will compete for a state championship next week in Sacramento. Rosary will play Northern California’s regional champ, Campolindo of Moraga (27-6), on Friday, March 24 at the Golden 1 Center.

“We’ve been here (in the regionals) three times now, finally got over the hump, so state is the only thing left,” Royals coach Rich Yoon said. “To win a CIF championship, a regional title, and now with an opportunity to win a state championship, this is really a dream season.”

After they survived a pair of one-point overtime thrillers in the Southern Section playoffs, the Royals steamrolled through regional play, winning each of their four outings of the tournament by at least 16 points.

“With every game, we get more cohesiveness,” Yoon added. “They understand their roles and how to execute in the position that they’re in. As the year has gone on, we’ve gotten better and better.”

After running with the Conquistadors (23-11) and playing at their desired up-tempo pace, Rosary found itself down, 15-13, after the first quarter.

An Obinma layup followed by 3-pointers from Alli Iannone and Goostrey highlighted an 8-0 run early in the second quarter that gave Rosary a lead it would never relinquish.

The Royals outscored Serra, 16-2, in the second.

Serra went 1-for-15 from the field over that stretch, and was 0-for-9 from 3-point range.

“We were able to control the ball a little bit more and we were able to see the floor better,” Goostrey said of the second quarter. “We brought the game back to our pace and were able to play with them a little bit.”

Goostrey scored eight points in the second and third quarters. With Rosary up by nine early in the third, she connected on a pair of wide open looks from distance on back-to-back possessions.

A put-back bucket and a Iannone 3-pointer moments later capped an 11-0 run that gave Rosary a commanding 20-point edge late in the third.

Iannone finished with 13 points and Camille Lira added nine for Rosary.

Serra was assessed a technical foul in the fourth quarter and later charged with an intentional foul that Iannone would capitalize on from the free throw line.

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