Sonora struggles in fourth quarter, falls to Norco


NORCO – Lindsay Kilgore didn't score a point during the first 231/2 minutes of Saturday's state playoff game. In fact, Norco's sharpshooter had taken just three field-goal attempts as the third quarter was nearly finished.

Kilgore then hit a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in the third period, and suddenly she had the hot hand. Kilgore went on to score the first five points of the fourth quarter, helping Norco pull away for a 53-44 win over Sonora.

“We have specific plays in the offense for her,“ Norco coach Rick Thompson said. “Lindsay's always ready to shoot, and she doesn't shy away from taking the threes. I don't care if she hasn't hit a three for 311/2 minutes. I'll still run a play for her in those final 30 seconds.”

Kilgore's quick flurry of points helped Norco outscore Sonora. 14-5, over the final eight minutes. The Cougars (25-9) extended their win streak to 11 games by avenging a previous loss to Sonora.

Norco will host Lakeside in Tuesday's regional semifinal round. The Cougars beat Lakeside, 55-43, in the Chino Hills Tournament on Dec. 7.

Sonora (28-5) struggled with keeping some of its key players on the floor, as Meghann Henderson, Jasmine Shedd and Lainie James battled foul trouble from the start of the second quarter.

“I don't think that really was a specific part of the game plan,“ Thompson said. “In fact, when we ran a couple plays to try to exploit that, we ended up hurting ourselves.”

Kilgore’s 3-pointer near the end of the third quarter gave Norco a 39-36 lead, but Elizabeth Yoshitake answered with a 3 to help Sonora draw even.

Kilgore scored on a putback to give the lead back to Norco, and she hit a 3-pointer from the wing to extend that advantage to 44-39. Naomi Yim hit a three, and Alexa Withers scored on a putback to push the lead to 10 points.

“They had been playing man for most of the game and were right up on me,” Kilgore said. “When I saw them go to a zone, I made adjustments. And then my teammates found me.”

Sonora missed its first eight shots of the final quarter – most coming from behind the arc – and that contributed to a scoring drought of six minutes.

It was a complete reversal from when the teams met back in January. Norco had a nine-point lead at halftime, but Sonora finished strong for a 63-47 win.

“We just played with a lot more energy tonight,“ said Dalis Jones, who scored 11 points and caused fits for Sonora's offense with her defensive pressure. “We weren't letting this one get away.”

Norco's Naomi Yim scored 20 points to lead all players.

Marissa Dunn scored 11 to lead Sonora, and Angela Rodriguez finished with 10 for the Raiders.

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