DUARTE – Playoff matchups usually entail a mad dash to acquire information on an often unknown opponent.
That wasn’t the case Tuesday night for the Hart girls basketball team.
They knew all too well what a matchup against Duarte represented. The Indians fell to the Falcons in the second round of last season’s CIF-Southern Section Division 2A tournament.
They knew a rematch meant another meeting with 6-foot-7 Oregon State signee Patricia Morris.
And for the second straight season, Morris, who had a game-high 24 points, and the Falcons put an end to Hart’s season, beating the Indians 68-58 at Duarte in the first round of this year’s 2A tournament.
“She’s a tough assignment,” said Hart coach Terra Palmer of Morris. “Our intention was if she was around the rim, we were going to double down on her and let their kids make plays.
“For the most part, I think our kids did exactly what we wanted them to do.”
Trudy Larkins, who was returning after missing two games due to a concussion, and Aly Kaneshiro did an admirable job in trying to contain Morris. Both stand under 6 feet tall.
The game was tied 16-16 after the first quarter and following six lead changes in the second quarter, Duarte (17-10) went into the half with a 30-27 lead. Morris had 12 of her points in the second quarter.
“She’s always a common denominator of anything that we do,” said Duarte coach Beverly Ball-Powell of Morris. “It’s important to get her the basketball because it opens up everything else for us.”
Morris’ stellar second quarter opened the door for Duarte’s wing contributors to begin the second half. Delaney Thompson had eight of her 20 points in the third quarter.
The Indians cut the deficit to eight with 42 seconds to play on a layup from Haylyn Nguyen but that’s as close as they would get following the third quarter. Annie Christofferson led Hart (14-14) with 18 points and Emma Allen followed with 15 points. Allen also had a team-high eight rebounds.
“They were all in and ready to play,” Palmer said of her team. “Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go your way.”
Christofferson ended her time with the Indians by hitting a layup at the buzzer to close out the game.
“I think we came out and started really hard,” Christofferson said. “We lost it a little bit in the second quarter and never got it back. But I’m so proud of this team.”
Kaneshiro and Larkins combined for 20 points and Kaneshiro had a team-high five assists to go with seven rebounds
Saugus 71, Rialto 49
Libbie McMahan had 24 points to send Saugus to the second round of the CIF-SS Division 3A tournament.
Eden MacKenzie was second on the team with 10 points and Monique Febles added eight points.
The Centurions (20-7) will host Whittier at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the second round.
Orangewood Academy 39, Valencia 38
Valencia’s season came to a close in the first round of the Division 1 tournament.
Nicole Weatherman led the team with 14 points and Chyanne Pagkalinawan was second with nine points. Chidinma Ikonte had a team-best eight rebounds to go with four points.
The Vikings (16-12) were the runner-ups in the Foothill League.
Beverly Hills 75, Golden Valley 55
Golden Valley finishes its season at 13-14, losing in the first round of the Division 3A tournament. The Grizzlies earned an at-large bid to the tournament out of the Foothill League.
Workman 41, Trinity Classical Academy 25
Hannah Caddow led Trinity (10-8) with eight points and 12 rebounds as its season ended in the first round of the Division 5AA tournament.