COSTA MESA – Huntington Beach's girls basketball team earned a trip to the championship game in the Costa Mesa Winter Classic with a hard-fought 44-32 victory over El Toro on Friday night.
The Oilers (9-3) were led by Stephanie Louie and Paola Roa, who combined to score 28 of Huntington Beach's 44 points. Louie led all scorers with 16 points and Roa added 12.
Louie opened the game by hitting her first shot from beyond the arc, which forced an early timeout by the Chargers. The Oilers held a 12-7 lead after one quarter.
Roa's activity on the defensive end was instrumental in the Oilers' second-quarter surge as they began to pull away from El Toro by creating turnovers.
The Chargers (7-9) trailed by 10 points at halftime as they managed only 11 first-half points due largely to tenacious defense by Huntington Beach.
El Toro tried using the 3-point shot to get back into the game. The Chargers started the third quarter with Hannah Carson knocking down her first 3-point shot.
But the Chargers did not make another 3-point field goal.
In the fourth quarter, Roa and Louie hooked up on an inbounds play that went the length of the court. Roa launched a one-handed pass to Louie that was converted to an easy layup and a 37-26 lead.
Whitney Williams scored a team-high 10 points for the Chargers.
El Toro's Megan Ballard finished with 2 points, which was a stark contrast to her previous game when she scored 16 points, including four 3-pointers.
Huntington Beach will face San Ramon Valley of Danville tonight at 7:30 in the championship game of the tournament.
San Ramon defeated Lakewood, 53-32, in Friday night's other semifinal.