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Segerstrom finishes strong to beat Kennedy

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

SANTA ANA - For three quarters it looked as if Kennedy would be marching on to the CIF-SS Division 2A quarterfinals.

The Segerstrom defense had something to say about that in the fourth.

Trailing by four points entering the final quarter, the Jaguars (23-5) didn't allow a single point and defeated the Fighting Irish, 45-32, Wednesday from Segerstrom High.

The Jaguars were abused by Aikane Higa for three quarters, but made the proper adjustments in the fourth to come back. Higa, who scored 18 points, got into the lane with ease for the majority of the game. In the crunch time though, the Jaguars knew which way to push her.

"Higa really likes to go left, and ate us up doing that. In the fourth we pushed her to her right and we didn't allow her to score I guess," said coach Jeff Watts who wasn't aware of his team's fourth quarter shutout.

The momentum seemed to take a big turn in the final seconds of the third when center Kayla Stephens tipped in a missed shot at the buzzer to cut the lead to four.

With the Fighting Irish (21-7) pressing, the Jaguars found the soft spot in the trap defense and attacked off it. Guard Natalie Perales found open shooters Kassie Alvarado and Nancy De La Cruz for baskets. Alvarado made three 3-pointers in the fourth.

The Fighting Irish biggest lead was eight late in the first half. Kristen Wong and Erica Sugimoto made layups and were at the head of the press, as was Rachel Cain.

This is the first time in seven years the Jaguars advance to the quarterfinals.


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