NHS cagers fall to state champs
by Misty Volaski
Nordhoff's varsity girls' varsity basketball team knew they
had a good chance to win this year's first-round Division IIIA
CIF playoff game.
And win they did. Though the match was fairly close at halftime,
30-23, Nordhoff was able to pull away in the second half with
a double-digit lead, thanks in part to Alison Bennett's 19 points,
16 rebounds, four blocks and six assists. Teammate Lindsey Mezori
nabbed 13 points, while freshman starter Sarah Nylander contributed
several key plays in addition to her six steals, four points,
seven rebounds and four assists.
Coach Ted Cotti brought up two younger players, Tahnie Benitez
and Sarah Lagos, to compete with varsity in the playoffs. The
two girls added six points, eight rebounds and five steals to
Nordhoff's record, making their postseason addition to the team
a good decision, Cotti said. "Rebounding and steals were
the key in this game."
The Lady Rangers' game against the two-time defending
state champions Bishop Montgomery eliminated Nordhoff in the
second-round, 75-42. Bishop Montgomery was the heavy favorite,
but it was the few small mistakes that made the difference in
the game. In the first half, Nordhoff was 2 for 12 at the free
throw line, and 4 for 28 in post shooting. "Our guards had
to carry us," Cotti said.
It was Nylander who led the team and picked up the slack, with
14 points, three assists and four steals in six for nine shooting.
Noele Quinn of Bishop Montgomery proved to be the Rangers' most
difficult adversary - she was the state player of the year two
times. However, Mezori put the pressure on Quinn, stealing the
ball from her three times in the first few minutes, showing the
crowd why she is the county leader for steals.
The Rangers, who will graduate Mezori and Shannon Popp this year,
finished the season with 14 wins, 13 losses.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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