Bellarmine Lady Guards Advance to the CIF FInals for the 2nd year
Bell-Jeff (24-3), champions of the Santa Fe League and the division’s top-ranked team, entered the eve as winners of 17 consecutive games, and was undaunted by the fervor of the Conquerors’ home crowd in Bermuda Dunes. Pressing the ball with alacrity and authority in the early going, the Guards leapt out to a 23-9 lead after the opening quarter and never looked back en route to the victory.Junior center Claire Borot was stellar for the visitors, leading all scorers on the night with 19 points, including 15 in the first half.“We tried to slow tempo, and we knew that were going to come in and push tempo and try to beat us to the basket every single time,” said Desert Christian head coach Johnny Huerta. “But we gave them a lot of chances with our turnovers, which they took advantage of.”
LADY GUARDS ADVANCE TO SEMI-FINALS
Without a doubt, the pressure got to the Trinity Classical Academy girls basketball team in Wednesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 5A quarterfinal.
Not the pressure of the moment, mind you; rather, it was the pressure of a relentless Bellarmine-Jefferson of Burbank defense that did in the Knights in their 44-23 defeat at The Master’s University.
The Guards (23-3) used a frenetic, active defensive display to block off passing lanes and force Trinity ball handlers into uncomfortable positions from nearly the tip.
The first half was marked by a young Knights team repeatedly attempting to dribble through the Guards’ full-court press to disastrous results.
“That was a big problem,” said first-year Knights coach Daniel Hebert. “We weren’t getting to where we were supposed to be. We kind of panicked because (Bell-Jeff) was athletic.”
And once Bell-Jeff really got going, turnover after turnover began to turn into point after point.<
After scoring the game’s first two baskets, the Knights (14-9) found themselves on the wrong side of a 27-0 Bell-Jeff run to close the half with a 27-4 deficit.
It was just last season that the Bellarmine-Jefferson girls’ basketball team was in the midst of a stunning program turnaround.
One of the high points of that turnaround was an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 title game.
This time around, though, the Guards are hardly an upstart team, but instead are the top seed and heavy favorite in the Division 5A tournament. And winning a CIF championship is the one and only goal for Bell-Jeff.
“Absolutely,” Guards Coach Claudia Villa said. “Of course, this is our top priority, we’d really like to win a championship.”