Lady Rangers bound for CIF-SS playoffs
By Jesse Phelps
Nordhoff met the other top two schools
in the Frontier League last week and when it was over, the NHS
girls varsity basketball team beat out Santa Clara and came up
just short of Oaks Christian in the games on the court and the
final league standings.
Following its second win over the Rangers, Oaks Christian won
the Frontier League title at 6-0 and 19-6 overall. Nordhoff finished
second in league (4-2, 14-11) and qualified for a first-round
CIF playoff game against El Segundo Thursday at home at 7:30
Nordhoff coach Ted Cotti called the Oaks Christian game, "A
war comprised of many battles, some of which we won and some
of which we lost."
Nordhoff lost the war, 79-66, despite what Cotti called, "one
of our best efforts of the year."
Employing a combination of defenses, switching readily and generally
trying to confuse the Saints, Nordhoff did manage to force Oaks
Christian into committing 21 turnovers. Point guard Ariane Roach
led the team with six steals and Alison Bennett had five to key
a swarming Nordhoff defense.
Unlike the first meeting between the two teams, Oaks Christian
took an early lead. Nordhoff quickly adjusted and built a seven-point,
first-period advantage behind a pair of threes by sophomore Sarah
Nylander and nine points from Tahnie Benitez.
The second quarter saw the onset of a free-throw draught that
lasted more than 10 minutes for the Rangers. Nordhoff's 0-for-10
performance from the foul line in the second allowed the Saints
to get within a point at the half.
The free-throw problems continued into the third, running the
streak of misses to 14 at one point, and Nordhoff trailed by
three after three. It was still a three point game with three
minutes left, when the Rangers committed back-to-back turnovers.
Oaks Christian responded with back-to-back treys against the
Nordhoff zone. NHS spent the last minute fouling and firing threes
to try to catch up, but couldn't.
Benitez finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Bennett,
in what Cotti termed "probably the best game of her career,"
had 11 points, 15 boards, five steals and three assists. Roach
added nine points, six steals and eight assists. Alexis Kenyon
contributed eight points and seven rebounds and Nylander had
13 points, three steals and three assists.
"If we made our free throws and closed out on shooters in
the final minutes, we'd have recorded a major upset," said
NHS followed up the near-upset with its fourth and final league
win by defeating Santa Clara in Oxnard, 65-42, on Thursday.
Cotti said, "Santa Clara is always a house of horrors, but
we managed to exorcise enough ghosts this time to escape with
As was the case in last year's season finale, the game meant
nothing in terms of the league standings. Cotti said he thought
that made it difficult for some of the girls to "exude energy
Playing somewhat listlessly, Nordhoff led by only seven at the
end of two, but Nylander and Roach jump-started the Rangers in
the second half, working hard at the front of Nordhoff's press.
Their tough defense, and that of Kenyon and Lagos, allowed Nordhoff
to extend the lead and pull away throughout the second half.
Roach finished with seven steals, eight assists and a career-high
six rebounds. Cotti called her performance, "a fantastic
job of helping us get the game up-tempo, the way we like it."
Nylander nearly compiled a quadruple-double, finishing with a
career-high 21 points, to go along with her eight steals, eight
boards and seven assists. With Bennett a bit under the weather,
Becky Kennedy and Benitez were tough underneath, each contributing
10 points and seven rebounds for the playoff-bound Rangers.
The Ojai Valley News
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