The Canyon Cowboys girls’ basketball team entered the CIF playoffs on Thursday with a convincing win over the visiting Covina Colts.
Canyon won the game, 70-51, behind another masterful defensive performance. The Cowboys (19-7) ran wild early and led 18-1 at the end of the first quarter.
Covina eventually found its shots but too many turnovers and open Canyon shots cost the Colts a playoff win.
The Cowboys were led by junior Josie Regez with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Seniors Jade Sims and Aaliyah Garcia each finished with 14-point games thanks to some solid passing by Canyon.
Garcia led the way moving the ball, with six assists, as nearly every Cowboy on the roster scored and registered an assist.
“We’ve been preparing for this all season long,” Garcia said. “I think it’s time to execute and show everyone what we can do.”
The Colts struggled to get going offensively as Canyon slowed down their focal points. Covina’s Danie Singley and Miranda Morales scored all 41 points as no other Colt could find their rhythm.
Singley finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Morales racked up a game-high 23 points.
The Green Machine reserves kept their foot on the gas until the final whistle and scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to close out the game. Canyon head coach Jessica Haayer knows she may soon need more of her depth to step into bigger roles and, after a game like this, she has a few more Cowboys to count on.
“When we can get contributions from every single player, it feels really good,” Haayer said. “They did well. I knew those kids could score, though. I watched him score all season long. So, it was nothing new for them.”
The Cowboys now advance one step closer to the CIF crown. They’ll be back on the road for the second round of playoffs as Canyon travels to Paramount (16-7) on Saturday for a round of 16 battle.
The Cowboys are a battle-tested group with a good amount of CIF experience. Haayer has had no issues motivating the team to keep playing.
“When you get in the playoffs, the hardest thing to do is to want your kids to want to play,” Haayer said. “We started back in, holy cow forever ago, going six days a week. These kids want to be here, this group, they want to practice and they want to be in the gym. It’s the perfect vibe that you want because we’ve been there before and it’s hard when you don’t know the ins and outs. They’re motivated and hungry every day and it’s a positive.”
Garcia still believes her squad can play with anyone if they play their own game. Canyon can reach the CIF quarterfinals for the second straight year with a win on Saturday.
“We just have to keep going and keep working hard every day,” Garcia said. “I think we can really play with anyone if we play our way and our game. I think that’s all that matters.”
Canyon heads to Paramount Saturday with a 7 p.m. tipoff.