JSerra hopes to benefit from tough loss


JSerra girls basketball coach Mary Rossignol scheduled some tough games for her team this season, hoping to prepare the Lions for the kind of teams they will face in the loaded CIF-SS Division 4AA playoffs.

JSerra gained some valuable knowledge about itself in as 77-59 loss to Santiago of Corona in a nonleague game on Tuesday night at JSerra High.

"The score wasn't indicative of truly how close the game was possession after possession," Rossignol said. "They kept their starters in until the very end. I mean, it's a great team for us to play. It's a great challenge for us. I'm proud of our girls. It's just going to make us a better team."

The Sharks (4-1), ranked No. 4 in Division 1AA and No. 6 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, built a 22-point lead in the second quarter before the Lions went to a five-guard lineup.  The Lions' Coco Miller and August Touchard came alive to close the gap to 32-22 with 3:54 left in the half.

The Sharks responded with a 3-pointer by Shiana Carrington, a three-point play by Oregon-bound Chrishae Rowe and a Carrington steal and a fastbreak layup to take a 40-22 lead.

The Lions (7-2), ranked No. 3 in the county, No. 4 in Division 4AA and No. 34 in the state, cut the lead to 14 points by halftime and opened the second half with a 7-0 run to make it 44-37 with 4:34 left in the third quarter. But Santiago's speed and athleticism proved to be too much for the Lions in the fourth quarter, and the Sharks pulled away in the final three minutes.

Rowe finished with 22 points and seven assists, Monique Billings, a 6-3 junior center, had 20 points and 18 rebounds, Carrington had 15 points and nine rebounds and Jada Williams had nine points. Santiago outrebounded JSerra, 45-22.

Miller finished with 21 points, including three 3-pointers, five rebounds and three asissts and Touchard, who is being recruited by Cal Lutheran and Lewis & Clark, had 20 points and five asisits.

"We knew they were going to be a great team," Rossignol said of the Sharks.

"We knew it was going to be a battle. They're fast, they're strong, they're physical and they just ... we talked about it all game. We just couldn't keep them off the boards and their second- and third-chance opportunities killed us."

JSerra plays host to Rosemead (5-3) on Wednesday and next week it heads to the Holiday Hardwood Invitational, which runs Dec. 26-29, at Oaks Christian of Westlake Village. The tournament is loaded with top teams, such as Long Beach Poly, Serra of Gardena, Windward of L.A., La Jolla Country Day, Canyon Springs of Moreno Valley and Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland. The Lions play Mater Dei of Chula Vista in the first round.

"That will be another good challenge for us," Rossignol said. "So we gotta bring it tomorrow and then we go to Oaks Christian. We're going to see teams just like this over there. I think this (playing Santiago) is a good game for us to see where we stand and what we need to work on and go back to practice and improve."

In other nonlegue games:

No. 9 Los Alamitos 59, Capistrano Valley 46: Kate McCutchen's 17 points helped the Griffins (9-2) knock off the host Cougars (4-6).

Aliso Niguel 75, Mission Viejo 40: Chloe Sharabba made eight 3-pointers and finished with 29 points to lead the visiting Wolverines (6-5) past the Diablos (4-6).

Westminster 63, Sunny Hills 32: Azusa Pacific-bound Maggie Dumphy scored 18 points, Selena Iriarte and Jenna Miramontez had 13 points apiece and Kathleen Lopp had 11 points as the Lions (8-1) defeated the visiting Lancers (5-6), who got 15 points and eight boards from Madison Cruse.

In the Century League:

El Dorado 61, Canyon 49: Brooke Salas had 21 points and four assists, Jaylin Jones had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Haylee Byrne scored 15 points to lift the Golden Hawks (10-1, 1-0) over the visiting Comanches (6-4, 0-1), who got 22 points and four 3-pointers from Tyler Prange.

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