South Pasadena’s Elise Takahama has her shot blocked by Teresa Wang of Gabrielino, during Saturday’s CIF playoff game in San Gabriel. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)
South Pasadena’s Elise Takahama has her shot blocked by Teresa Wang of Gabrielino, during Saturday’s CIF playoff game in San Gabriel. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

Rafu Staff and Wire Reports

SAN GABRIEL.–As the final seconds ticked away with the score tied, South Pasadena got the ball into the pair of hands it wanted.

Tigers junior Lexie Scholtz had shot consistently  and ended up with 20 points, but her open shot from the top of the key clanked off the back of the rim and sent Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Div. 3A game into overtime.

The short break before the extra period, however, allowed the girls of South Pas to catch their collective breath, and they came back to the floor revitalized. The Tigers began OT with an 11-0 run en route to a 72-59 win over host Gabrielino.

The fourth-seeded Tigers began the game on a tear, leading by 11 at the end of the first quarter. The Eagles clawed back in the game in the second, adjusting their defense and using their speed advantage to score nine unanswered points to begin the frame.

It wasn’t until South Pas junior Elise Takahama sank a three-point shot that the momentum was slowed.

“We started strong, but began to fizzle after they switched their defense,” Takahama said after the win. “They got really agressive, and they’re really fast. We knew coming in that they were going to be tough.”

Takahama finished with 11 points, while her co-captain Sophia Hathaway led all scorers with 24. Scholtz added 12 rebounds and seven assists, Kristen Kafkaloff scored nine and Taryn Kato had two points and three assists.

Gabrielino took the lead, 47-45, in the third period, as the Tigers had trouble sinking their free throws and center Hathaway got into foul trouble with four. The lead changed hands several times, and after a South Pas timeout with around two and a half minutes left in regulation, the Tigers went to work with their inside game, getting the ball to Hathaway and letting her score and be fouled.

Gabrielino, however, got some key three-pointers, mostly from Serena Limas, who finished with 17 points. With 15.3 seconds remaining, South Pas brought the ball up court, and finding their center covered by three Eagles, got the ball to Scholtz, whose jumper didn’t fall.

The Tigers’ disappointment was brief, as they dominated OT from the tip. Takahama said later that her team simply was not willing to exit the postseason at this early stage.

“There was no way were we going to lose this one,” she said.

South Pas moves on to the quarterfinals on Wednesday, when they will host Ocean View at 7 p.m.

Note: The playoff brackets issued by CIF last week erroneously listed South Pas as having a bye in the first round. The Tigers in fact played Rubidoux, and won the game, 81-18.

At La Cañada, Courtney Chen scored 12 points with nine steals, and Keilee Bessho added three as the Spartans rallied for a thrilling 44-42 victory over visiting San Luis Obispo.

Chen’s drive and layup with 59.7 seconds remaining gave La Cañada a 44-42 lead, which they would not relinquish for the remainder if the game.

The Spartans advance to face Clara Matsumoto, Taylor Kariya and host Oak Park Wednesday in the 3A quarterfinals. The Eagles got seven points from Kariya and an assist from Matsumoto in their 33-24 win over Covina.

In Div. 1AA, Arcadia’s girls traveled to Fontana on Saturday and came away with a stunning 63-58 upset win over Summit, champions of the Sunkist League.

Christina Huynh and Melanie Chen had 13 points each for the Apaches, while Kristen Shigenaga added three points and a rebound.

Arcadia moves on to face Bishop Amat on Wednesday in La Puente,

In the newly-created Open Division of the playoffs, the injury-hampered girls of Mark Keppel found themselves simply outmatched by playoff-savvy Serra in Gardena. The Lady Aztecs struggled from the opening moment and trailed for the entire game, eventually falling, 71-37 in the first round.

The loss, however, doesn’t spell the end of Keppel’s season, as the Open Division has a consolation bracket. The Aztecs will face Alemany on Saturday.

Keppel head coach Joe Kikuchi said he likes the idea of an open division for the very best teams but the loss of some of his key players – most notably, point guard Lauren Saiki – puts his team at a serious disadvantage among the elite.

Saiki continues to recover from a knee injury that has caused her to miss a great deal of playng time this season.

Sophia Song had a team-high 12 points for Keppel and Kelli Kamida added seven.

El Segundo was bounced out of the Div. 4AA playoffs on Saturday, victims of a lopsided 60-34 loss at No. 2 Bishop Montgomery.

Eagles coach Jason Ito told The Daily Breeze his team suffered from a substantial size discrepancy from the outset.

“It’s tough when your girls are so small in comparison. You have to expend so much energy. You get tired.”

Hannah Nonoguchi had 13 points for El Segundo.

In Div. 4A, Flintridge Prep made the most of their long road trip to Banning, posting a 55-39 win in the second round.

Renae Tamura led the Rebels with 15 points, with Maya Okamoto adding 13.

“We got exactly what we wanted and that was getting balanced scoring and pressing defensively to turn turnovers into points,” Flintridge Prep co-coach Kevin Kiyomura told The Glendale News-Press.

Prep will travel Wednesday to Brentwood for a 7 p.m. quarterfinal matchup.

Maranatha’s magic season continues with a 4A quarterfinal game on Wednesday at Cantwell-Sacred Heart in Montebello.

The Minutemen, with Gabriela Masuda, Keilani Ando, Noelle Oki and Eri Yamada, move on after a 54-38 win over Crossroads in Santa Monica.

Kylie Fujioka takes the floor during introductions prior to Saturday’s Div. 2A opener between West Torrance and Baldwin Park. (Photo by GAY KURAHASHI)
Kylie Fujioka takes the floor during introductions prior to Saturday’s Div. 2A opener between West Torrance and Baldwin Park. (Photo by GAY KURAHASHI)

In Div. 2A, the city of Torrance was well-represented, with all of its teams posting first-round wins on Saturday.

West Torrance got 17 points from Kylie Fujioka in a 83-26 drubbing of Baldwin Park.

For the Warriors, Kayla Sato scored 13 points, Hayley Tanabe had 12, Kayli Imoto and Bailey Kurahashi each scored seven, Taylor Tomita added four, Amie Nelson had three and Krysten Tachiyama contributed two.

West next travels to Rio Mesa for Wednesday’s second-round contest.

Katelyn Serizawa and Kylie Oshiro each netted 12 points for North, as the Saxons ran all over Norwalk, 75-34.

Megan Takahashi had eight points for No. 4 seed North, who move on to face No. 13 Golden Valley.

Kasey Takahashi

At South High, the Spartans’ Kasey Takahashi finished with 18 points and eight steals in a 52-34 win over visiting Garden Grove.

Jaryn Fajardo added 14 points, seven rebounds and four steals for South, who next host Victor Valley on Wednesday.

Jordan Sakasegawa scored 18, all on 3-pointers, as Torrance had their way with Beverly Hills, 74-25.

Carah Fukumoto had 16, Jessica Fujitsubo 13 and Jamie Kuwae added 10 for the Tartars.

Torrance will host El Dorado on Wednesday.

In Div. 1A, Hannah Bruno had 19 points and Kylie Au contributed seven assists and five steals in Peninsula’s 82-48 win over Katella.

Peninsula will host Cypress for Wednesday’s second-round contest.

Meghan Peneueta scored seven points with four steals and three assists, while teammate Nao Shiota had six points, seven steals and six assists, as No. 4 Redondo Union made quick work of Kaiser,  60-22.

Redondo next travels to Yucaipa on Wednesday.

Michelle Lanterman had seven for Mira Costa, who advanced after a 47-32 win over La Sierra. Mira Costa hosts Alta Loma in Wednesday’s second round.

In Div. 3AA, Megan Takahashi had 19 points and nine rebounds for Palos Verdes, who slipped past Diamond Ranch, 45-43.

PV next travels to Yorba Linda for  Wednesday’s quarterfinal.

Kaelyn Kawamoto
Kaelyn Kawamoto

Also in 3AA, Hacienda Heights Wilson got a team-high 16 points from Kaelyn Kawamoto and one each from Kaitlyn Iwamoto and Kelli Iwamoto, but the Wildcats were ousted from the playoff by Lakeside, 69-43.

•   •   •

In the boys’ playoffs on Friday, Chad Ashimine scored 23 points with nine assists, as North Torrance advanced in Div. 2A with a 85-53 victory over Grand Terrace.

North moves on to face El Dorado tonight in Placentia.

In Santa Ana on Friday, Reed Nakakihara scored 16, all via the 3-point field goal, in Foothill’s 82-55 victory over Newport Harbor in Div. 2AA.

The Knights host La Sierra for tonight’s second round game.

Also in 2A, Dylan Kim had 11 points in Mira Costa’s first-round win at Lynwood, 69-65.

Mira Costa saw its 15-point lead at the half evaporate, eventually falling behind by two late in the fourth quarter. Kim’s two field goals helped the Mustangs regain the lead and eventually post the win.

Mira Costa travel to Newbury Park for tonight’s second-round contest.

Bailey Kikuchi
Bailey Kikuchi

In Div. 1AA, heavily-favored Mark Keppel suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of visiting A,B. Miller of Fontana, a 62-57 season-ending loss in front of their home fans.

Keppel coach Hung Duong gave plenty of credit to the Miller team, especially in terms of inside scoring and rebounding.

“They played hard and they crashed the boards,” Duong told the Fontana Herald. “One of our weaknesses all year has been our inability to box out. They took advantage.”

At Savannah, Corey Kitani had 15 points and seven assists for Torrance, but the Tartars suffered a 69-63 Div. 2A loss to exit the playoffs.

Austin Bugarin had eight points and four steals for Torrance.

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