Despite a spirited effort to make more history Saturday night, the Cathedral City High School girls’ basketball team concluded its season, falling at home 43-29 to Whittier Christian (La Habra) in the second round of the CIF Division 4AA playoffs.
The Lions advanced to Saturday’s game after authoring the program’s first-ever girls’ basketball playoff victory in the 33-year history of Cathedral City High with their 60-47 first round road win over Notre Dame (Riverside) on Thursday night.
“They did great,” said Lions head coach Marques Hill. “There were things, of course, we could have done better, but as a unit they did great.”
Down 12-3 after the opening quarter, the Lions fed a rabid home crowd spoonfuls of hoop elixirs in the second quarter, fighting back behind four field goals from junior guard Le’Ann Broom to take an 18-17 deficit to halftime.
The third quarter, however, proved the hosts undoing, as the visiting Heralds played a taut inside-outside game between slick freshman point guard Joleen Corona and 5-foot-11 senior center Christa Evans to take an 11-point edge to the final quarter.
Evans led all scorers with 15 points, pacing a Whittier (20-9) team which entered the postseason as the No. 5 team in Division 4AA.
Cathedral City (16-9), the fourth place team in the DVL, entered the evening as winners of five consecutive games and as the 12th-ranked team in the division. The Lions were led by 11 points from Broom (all in the first half) and received eight more from senior forward Natalie Ipina.
“I felt really good,” Ipina said of the Lions’ performance. “At the end of the day, it’s about the love for the team and the love for basketball. And win or lose, we’re still family.”
Despite the season-ending loss, Hill and his team no doubt recognized the progress made this season.
“They’re getting better and better,” Hill said. “I have the two seniors that basically brought along the sophomores and freshman, getting them here, and making them better players today. I’m proud of what they did.”
Looking ahead, Cathedral City aims to make more new history with a roster featuring eight underclassmen.
“All I can say is next year we’re hopefully going for the CIF championship. I believe we can do it,” Hill said. “They just need to keep working on all the things we did back in the summer. They get seven days off starting tomorrow, and we’ll go from there.”
WHITTIER CHRISTIAN 43 CATHEDRAL CITY 29
(FG FT-FTA-TP) Sherfey 1 2-6 5, Corona 5 1-2 13, Watkins 3 0-0 6, Evans 6 3-8 15, Stolt 2 0-0 4. Totals 17-6-16-43.
CATHEDRAL CITY (29)
(FG-FT-FTA-TP) Wallace 2 0-0 5, Witherspoon 1 2-6 5, Broom 5 0-0 11, Ipina 4 0-0 8. Totals 12-2-6-29.
Whittier 12 6 17 8 – 43
Cathedral City 3 14 7 5 – 29
3-Point Goals— Whittier – 3 (Corona 2, Sherfey 1), Cathedral City – 3 (Broom 1, Wallace 1, Witherspoon 1), Fouled Out— None.