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Lady Mustangs Wallop Westview; Advance in CIF State Championships Play

Mar 12, 2015 09:58AM ● By DigMB Staff

Mira Costa's Laura Sheckter (15) and Sabrina Callender-Clewett get into position on defense against Westview High School March 11, 2015, in the first round of CIF State Championships.

The Mira Costa High School girls basketball team easily defeated Rancho Penasquitos' Westview Wolverines 59-31 Wednesday night at home in the first round of CIF State Championships Division 2 play. The Lady Mustangs take on Santa Barbara High at 6 p.m. Saturday at home in the single-elimination tournament.

A win against Santa Barbara could set up a rematch with local rival Redondo Union which also easily prevailed in its first round playoff, 71-30, at home against the San Pedro High Pirates. Mira Costa is seeded 3rd in playoffs, right behind No. 2 RUHS. The teams split their league games, 1-1 in close games (MCHS won 42-36 at home and RUHS won 40-39 at home) and Redondo smashed MCHS 60-37 last Saturday in CIF finals playoffs.

Wednesday night, the Mustangs opened with a full-court press they used to great effect throughout the game, forcing turnovers they converted into points. MCHS took an early lead, 10-2 with 4:17 left in the first quarter, ending the quarter up 17-4.

From there, they never looked back, able to insert players from the bench in the second quarter, going into the half up 34-14. At the end of the third quarter, Mira Costa was walloping Westview, up 50-21. 

Sophomore Allie Navarette led the offense with 13 points, followed by eight players who had 4 to 6 points each; "A very balanced effort," noted Coach John Lapham.

I thought we played very hard and were aggressive all night," he told DigMB. "It was a good effort by the entire team."

Indeed, Lapham cleared his bench, giving every player time in the game, primarily in the fourth quarter, though subs were inserted throughout the game, as early as the first quarter, giving starters a chance to rest though they didn't look like they needed any kind of break.

Costa's bench executed plays well, particularly in the fourth quarter, near game's end when sophomore Hana Escovar led the effort. Senior 
Sabrina Callender-Clewett also delivered for her team, coming off the bench and making some key plays.

Westview, seeded 14th, put up a spunky effort but added to its own misery, in the first half, accumulating enough fouls to send Mira Costa to the free throw line. In the second half, roles were reversed, with MCHS sending Westview shooters to the line. 

MCHS seniors 
Keilani Ikehara, Patience Taylor, Haley Tojo and Devon Feaster contributed to the win, pacing the team, hustling and making some key plays. Sophomore Laura Sheckter also gave a standout performance. 

The team's biggest key was its tenacious man-to-man defense.

"We face a very tough match on Saturday (against Santa Barbara)," said Lapham. "They are led by the state's leading scorer, Amber Melgoza, who averages 34 points per game."

A victory over Santa Barbara, which beat Sierra 72-40 in its opening CIF State Championships game, lost to Redondo 59-54 in CIF finals. 

Admission to tournament games are $9 for general admission and $5 for children, students with an ASB card and senior citizens.

Editor's Note: We got it wrong the first time. Here are the correct game scores for MCHS vs. RUHS this season: MCHS 42-36, RUHS 40-39, RUHS 60-37. We apologize for not getting it right the first time. Thank you to a reader for calling the error to our attention.

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