Sierra Canyon girls basketball team wins rematch with Etiwanda and advances to state finals – Press Enterprise

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — The Sierra Canyon girls’ basketball program is making its fifth trip to the state finals, and this might be the sweetest.

For the second straight game, the Trailblazers avenged a loss from earlier in the season. On Tuesday, Sierra Canyon was never behind after the first quarter, falling unbeaten and nationally 60-51 to Etiwanda in a CIF State Open Division regional final at Etiwanda High School.

Sierra Canyon will face Archbishop Mitty of San Jose in the state finals at 6:00 p.m. Saturday in Sacramento.

Sierra Canyon (29-2), who finished third in the Southern California region, got revenge on one of his previous two losses by defeating La Jolla Country Day on Saturday. Tuesday’s win over Etiwanda (29-1) at the top of the table avenged a 69-57 defeat by Etiwanda in last month’s CIF Southern Section final.

“We call this the revenge tour,” said Alicia Komaki, Sierra Canyon coach. “These kids worked so hard. I really wanted them to get to the final.”

In the last encounter, Sierra Canyon star Juju fouled Watkins and Etiwanda pulled away to win. This time, Watkins didn’t get into trouble as she scored 29 points and had 15 rebounds and three blocks.

“That (no fouling) makes a big difference,” Komaki admitted.

Against some of their better opponents this season, the Eagles made runs in the second half to recover from a deficit or to put a tight game out of reach.

This time, the Trailblazers opened the second half with a 9-0 run and took a 36-26 lead. The lead grew to as much as 14 points and Etiwanda never got closer than five points in the second half.

“It’s really a credit to these kids,” Komaki said.

Despite Etiwanda not being fouled by anyone, star Kennedy Smith recorded her second, third and fourth fouls in the first three minutes of the third quarter, forcing her out of the game and making the comeback all the more difficult.

Etiwanda coach Stan Delus did not blame his team’s defense for the defeat.

“I didn’t think we recovered that well (like we did in the first matchup),” Delus said. “And we missed a lot of layups. I thought we defended well, but we didn’t get a lot of free balls.”

Destiny Agubata led Etiwanda with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Aliyahna Morris added 14 points and Smith had 10 points and seven rebounds.

“Last time we played man and zone (defense) and this time we just played man,” Komaki said. “We felt like we could stay with them.”

“We lost a game (this season),” said Delus. “I can’t be unhappy about that. We still made history.”

While Etiwanda was denied a trip to his first state finals, the Eagles won their first section title in school history.

While Watkins was the only double-digit scorer for the Trailblazers, the other starters had even productions: Izela Arenas scored eight points and MacKenly Randolph, Crystal Wang and Kayla Malek all scored seven points.

Etiwanda put on a 6-0 run in the first quarter to take a 10-8 lead, but the Trailblazers responded with an 8-0 run of their own and never went behind again.


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