South Pasadena High’s hopes for a state title came to an end Saturday night as Lakeside High of Elsinore handed the resilient Tigers a 64-56 loss, making key shots down the stretch and changing-up its defense in the second round CIF State Division III contest.
With the defeat, South Pasadena finished a remarkable 21-7 season, going deeper into the post-season than any girls’ basketball team in school history.
Lakeside, 25-7, continues toward its quest for a state title, moving onto third round action.
The Tigers held an eight-point lead, 32-24, lead at the half, but Lakeside outscored South Pasadena 20-12 in the third quarter, tying it up 44-44, going into the final period. The Lancers continued their strong play over the final eight minutes, scoring another 20 points while holding the Tigers, again, to 12.
The Lancers pulled away early in the fourth quarter on baskets by Tavian Lasley and Emma Merriweather for a 48-44 advantage before Lasley hit a huge buzzer-beater three-pointer with 6:26 left in the contest as the 30-second clock was about to run out.
South Pasadena kept battling and closed to within two, 51-49, on a three-pointer by Kristen Kafkaloff and a basket by Lexie Scholtz, but the Lancers ended the threat on shots by Merriweather and another 3-pointer by Lasley, who finished with eight points, all in the final period.
Her three-point shot put the Lancers up by seven, 56-49, with just under four minutes to go in the game and energized the home crowd, sensing the victory.
“They hit some key shots when we were trying to make our run and that affected our momentum,” said South Pasadena High coach Tammy Lai. “In the end, we just couldn’t hit our shots.”
While Lakeside hit big threes in the final quarter, South Pasadena’s offense struggled, hitting only 21 percent its shots. Late in the game, the Lancers went away from their man-to-man defense to a zone, and the move seemed to frustrate the Tigers, whose scoring production tailed off considerably from its success in the early going.
South Pas fell behind in the first quarter, 17-4, but a 16-0 run gave the Tigers momentum, putting them up three points with less than one minute into the second quarter.
South Pasadena made eight baskets in the first period, but only shot 19.5 percent (8 of 41) over the next three quarters. Matters were made worse when the Tigers’ Sophia Hathaway, who entered the game not feeling well, fouled out with just over three minutes of play remaining in the game. She finished with just three points on the night.
Despite the loss, it was a season South Pasadena High players will remember for a lifetime. The Tigers won the Rio Hondo League title, reached the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA semi-finals before going two rounds in their bid to win a state championship.
- : Tigers’ Girls’ Basketball Team Ends Memorable Season
- : By Bill Glazier