No. 3 JSerra forced to work hard for title
FULLERTON – Coco Miller had 14 points and six steals as No. 3 JSerra's girls basketball team outlasted No. 6 Canyon, 46-37, in the championship game of the Vernie Ford Tip-off Classic Saturday night at Fullerton High.
The Lions (4-0) had breezed through the first two rounds of the tournament, defeating their first two opponents by a combined 144 points. The Comanches (3-1) made JSerra fight for every point, and held a 34-33 lead going into the final frame.
That’s when Lions coach Mary Rossignol implored her players to jump out on the fast-break to put some points on the scoreboard.
“We weren’t doing what we normally do,” said Rossignol, referring to the absence of the Lions’ transition offense for most of the game. “Instead of the guards leaking out, we were running too much of a flat line.”
JSerra responded by scoring on three consecutive fast-break opportunities, breaking open a close game.
The Lions then turned the game over to their talented post players to preserve the victory. Courtney Vaccher had 12 points for the Lions, and Megan House asserted her dominance on the defensive end, collecting 11 rebounds and blocking seven shots.
With the Lions’ lead standing at 41-35 with just over four minutes to go, Vaccher and House went to work down low, helping JSerra collect offensive rebounds that gave the Lions three extra possessions in one trip down the floor.
“Courtney and I haven’t had much time to play together, but when we have, the chemistry has been automatic,” House said.
Vaccher transferred from Yorba Linda this year.
The scrappy Comanches stayed with the Lions for much of the contest. Canyon held leads after the first and third quarters, but the battle of the boards prevented the Comanches from pulling away.
Lindsay Uyematsu had 13 points, and Tyler Prange added 10 for the Comanches.
Canyon coach Matt Dale said that he had to rely on the starters for much of the tournament, and it was evident in this game as four players accounted for all of the Comanches’ scoring in the title game.