Palm Springs girls' hoops fall short

Palm Springs girls' hoops fall short

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Palm Springs girls' hoops fall short

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PALM SPRINGS

There were no surprises when the Palm Springs High School girls’ basketball team met Murietta Mesa in the first round of the CIF Division III-AA playoffs Thursday night.

The Indians faced the Rams earlier this season and walked away with a 45-39 victory, one that jumpstarted a run in the Desert Valley League where the Indians finished behind co-champs La Quinta and Indio at 8-4.

Since that game, however, Murietta Mesa played one of the toughest league schedules in the county, got into the postseason on an at-large bid and made the most of it by topping Palm Springs, 45-29 on Thursday. Palm Springs closed the season at 14-11.

“We remembered some of their key players and that they had some height,” said Palm Springs senior guard Rianna Flores, who finished with seven points and seven assists in a balanced attack. “When it comes down it it, we just gave up too many shots, had too many turnovers and there were too many mistakes. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had and our defense could have been a lot better.”

There’s no doubt that the Rams were battle tested. They play in the Southwestern League where the top three league finishers are CIF powers Vista Murietta, Great Oak and Chaparral, all playing in Division I-AA. The Rams earned a No. 8 seed in this division following a 3-7 league mark and 13-13 overall record.

“We talked about it and they were aware of what they could do,” said Palm Springs coach Terry Tatum, whose young Indians squad graduates just Flores and Ricki Carnes. “We had to fight to come from behind the last time and coming in, they knew they lost to us. But, it was their league that got them better. You’re gonna get better in that league. Their losses were close so you know they were tested.”

The Rams led from the start and despite only leading by three, 10-7 after the first quarter, they used the hot hand of Kiersta Tanner who scored eight of her nine points in the second quarter to take the 20-10 lead at the half. From there, the Rams never looked back and got a game-high 16-point effort from Jessica Brogdon.

“Our shots just weren’t going in,” said junior Hannah Flores, who led the Indians with eight points. “When they didn’t we just weren’t focused.”

The Rams surged ahead to 31-17 after the third quarter and held the Indians to single-digit scoring in all three quarters. Palm Springs scored 12 points in the final quarter, but couldn’t get anything going.

“We knew they were gonna be tough,” said Tatum. “We weren’t intimidated, but we knew what we were getting into. They had a good preseason and we knew who they play in league.

“Now, with primarily a sophomore team, we have nowhere to go but up. There’s no question, we are going to get better.”

Sophomore Kaila Gower chipped in seven points with seven rebounds for the Indians while sophomore Sierra Martinez finished with four steals.

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