Basketball finishes with a hard loss

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Liz Smith
Reporter

The Cubs winning streak ended in the final seconds of the North Coast Section quarter-final on Feb. 27 when a 3-pointer from a University High School player surprised spectators and gave the Red Devils 49- 47 victory, a week after the Cubs won the BCL West championship.

In the final seconds of the game, The Cub’s India Pearce took two foul shots. The Cubs then led by just one point.

“There was a lot of pressure on India to make her free throws, and fortunately she sunk one to give us the lead,” said Okamoto.

UHS had possession in the last five seconds and charged the ball down the court but they were stopped by The Cubs. But when the Red Devils took the ball in out of bounds with just two seconds left, a deep three-pointer from Lysi Gonzales won the game for UHS, 49-47.

“[Before the game] I wasn’t nervous, just figuring that since this was going to be the third match up with UHS, they would probably know our plays well,” said head coach Kara Okamoto. “I tried my best to prepare the team by giving them new plays and different options.”

The game started with UHS gaining possession, but the Red Devils were consistently shut down by double teams from the Cubs. The Cubs’ tight defense had referees calling many forced travels against UHS.

Most CSH fans were chanting “defense” until the Cubs were able to force UHS into a shot clock violation, leading The Cubs to another basket.

INA HERLIHY | the broadview Junior India Pearce fights through two Lick-Wilmerding defenders on February 20. The Cubs defeated the Tigers 35-23.

INA HERLIHY | the broadview Junior India Pearce fights through two Lick-Wilmerding defenders on February 20. The Cubs defeated the Tigers 35-23.

The Red Devils had a two-point cushion on the Cubs at the end of the first half, leading 28-26.

At the start of the second half, The Cubs came right back with several forced five-second violations and traveling calls against UHS, giving The Cubs a 7-0 scoring run halfway through the third quarter.

The Cubs held one of UHS’ highest-scoring players Cameron Ruby down with its strong defense throughout the game until the final quarter when she scored two points and one from the free throw that followed. Almost immediately after, UHS tied up the score with a breakaway layup. Pearce’s foul shot point that followed gave The Cubs a one-point lead.

“There was a lot of pressure on India to make her free throws, and fortunately she sunk one to give us the lead,” said Okamoto.

UHS had possession in the last five seconds and charged the ball down the court, but they were stopped by the Cubs. When the Red Devils took the ball in out of bounds with just two seconds left, a deep 3-pointer from Lysi Gonzales won the game for UHS, 49-47.

“Having a one point lead was okay, but in the end proved not to be enough,” said Okamoto. “In those last few seconds, it’s really anybody’s game. My reaction to that [shot]: speechless.”

The Cubs struggled to take the lead but kept up with UHS in the first half, but their strong comeback may have happened too late.

The team’s accomplishments in the regular season were escalated due to their improving chemistry according to senior Tina Mateo.

“My goal this year was to improve my skills as a basketball player,” said Mateo. “We all just wanted to gain great team chemistry that we knew would help us get as far as we could.”

The Cubs won the title of BCL West champions just a week earlier.

“Varsity has had wonderful respect throughout the whole season,” said Dean of Students Celine Curran, whose daughter Caroline (’03) was on the State Champion team in 2003 and holds the rebounding record for Division V in the state. “Nothing can take away from great season play.”

This year’s team was the first in CSH history to go undefeated in league play and take this title, according to Okamoto.

“Our goal was to definitely win league and try to go undefeated in it, which we were able to do,” said co-captain Scarlett Kirk. “We didn’t really have a set goal after that, it was just to get as far as we could in post season.”

Although this was the last year for many players on the team, the senior players ended the season with many accomplishments in tournaments, against challenging opponents and the title of BCL West Champions.

“We can always have the vision to make it to the [State Championships],” said Curran. “If it takes longer, that doesn’t take away from the goal once we have reached it.”

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