South Pasadena High Wins First Round State Tournament Game

Beat Sierra High School 74-69, Face Lakeside High at Lake Elsinore on Saturday Night

South Pasadena High’s girls’ basketball team handed Sierra High School a 74-69 loss Wednesday night in first round state tournament action.

The Tigers, now 21-6 overall, including a 9-1 first place finish in the Rio Hondo League play, took an early morning 5-hour bus ride to the Sierra Foothills in Tollhouse, California, about 40 miles northeast of Fresno, to face the Chieftains.

Despite the long road trip, the Tigers pulled away at the finish to pick up the key win.

South Pasadena’s Sophia Hathaway led the Tigers’ attack with a 28-point effort and Kristen Kafkaloff, Elise Takahama and Lexie Scholtz, all scoring in double figures.

“This year’s team has been a marvel to watch,” said South Pasadena High Principal Janet Anderson. “They have a gutsy, never-say-quit ethic. The have their minds in the game, stay focused, and, while providing thrills to the spectators, are also great role models for the next generation of players.”

Looking for another victory, South Pas will be back in action on Saturday night, facing Lakeside High in Lake Elsinore as they advance in second round action. Game time is 6 p.m.

South Pasadena went deep into the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, reaching the semifinals in Division 3 before falling to Inglewood 50-43 earlier this month.

“Their willingness to train, dedication to technique and cohesiveness as a team, was rewarded by the CIF with a berth in the state tournament. Coach Lai and staff have a unique and wonderful chemistry with this team,” said SPHS Athletic Director Mark Zalin.

Eight Southern Section teams, among them, La Cañada and South Pasadena, along with Inglewood and Santa Margarita, matched in the CIF championship last Friday night, were invited to the state tournament.

“I’m really excited for our girls,” said Coach Lai. “Qualifying for the state tournament is something we were hoping for. I think this will be a valuable experience for our girls and it’s just a reminder that all the hard work they have put in has paid off. This group has put in a lot of hours working to be better year after year. They’re a very close knit group that trust each other. What makes this group special is that we don’t have one person that dominates every game. We have had different girls step up in each game throughout the season.”

Special note. Location of Saturday’s game:

  • : Beat Sierra High School 74-69, Face Lakeside High at Lake Elsinore on Saturday Night
  • : By Bill Glazier Review Editor