Laguna Hills' Taylor Messick, left, tussles for the ball with Corona Centennial's Samantha Logan in teh first period of the semi-final round of the Larry Doyle Orange County Championships at Marina High School Friday night.
See more photos in the OCVarsity Hot Shots slideshow.

Laguna Hills shot down in semifinals


HUNTINGTON BEACH – It took over a half of play, but Centennial of Corona's Ashley Merrill finally missed a shot.

Unfortunately for Laguna Hills, by that time, the game was already out of reach.

Merrill was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field in the first half, and her 20 points led the Huskies past the Hawks, 61-37, in the semifinals of the Larry Doyle O.C. Championships Friday night at Marina High.

Laguna Hills (12-3) will play San Clemente in the third-place game on Saturday night at 7:30 at Edison High.

"The second quarter really caved in on us," said Hawks coach Jim Martin. "The reason you play in tournaments is when this happens to you, you realize there is a lot that you need to improve on."

OCVarsity Hot Shots: Friday's basketball games

Trailing by seven after the first quarter, Centennial (10-1) opened the second quarter on a 13-1 run to go ahead 28-9. Merrill, a University of Arizona signee, was 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to start the game, and had 16 points by the half.

The Huskies led 38-16 at the break, and kept their foot on the gas pedal throughout the second half.

Laguna Hills trailed by as many as 27 in both the third and fourth quarters.

Maddy Ziering-Smith and Cheyenne Berbey were the only Hawks in double figures, scoring 12 apiece.

"We need to bounce back and have a better showing (next game)," Martin said. "We'll turn the page."

Also in the Larry Doyle O.C. Championships:

Torrance 66, Santa Margarita 65: Jessica Fujitsubo's driving layup as time expired capped a 5-0 run in the final 20 seconds of overtime as the Tartars stole a victory from the Eagles.

Two free throws by Nikki Wilkins put Santa Margarita (5-6) ahead 65-61 with 30 seconds remaining in overtime.

Torrance's Jamie Kuwae drilled her fifth 3-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to one point.

After a Tartars (4-5) foul, Eagles guard Zaier Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one, setting up Fujitsubo's buzzer-beating drive.

Caitlin Heinly, Jordy Co, Sheldon Cornwell and Williams finished with double digits in points for the Eagles.

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