By Nick Michael
Assoc. News Editor
Photos by Tucker Judkins
The varsity girls’ basketball team overcame an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter en route to a stunning win over the Don Lugo Conquistadores at home on Thursday, February 18. The girls were able to gain momentum after a poor third quarter performance, outscoring Don Lugo 20-9 in the fourth.
The Tigers started the game off hot, going on an 11-0 run and not allowing a Don Lugo basket for over four minutes. Senior Kristen Kafkaloff knocked down two three-pointers, and junior Juliana Tom added a third. However, the Conquistadores came back strong, going on an 11-0 run of their own. By the end of the first, South Pasadena held a 13-11 edge.
The second quarter was much like the first, with both teams playing in a relatively even manner. The Tigers were tenacious on defense, hustling after loose balls and coming up with several steals. On the offensive end, they used these turnovers to create scoring opportunities. Tom sank two straight three-pointers to close out the first half, with South Pasadena in the lead 26-23.
The game got out of hand for the Tigers in the third quarter. South Pas struggled mightily to score, made sloppy passes, and committed many unnecessary fouls. The Conquistadores carried all the momentum, and went on a 12-3 run throughout the third period.
Freshman Lauren Kafkaloff sank a jump shot early in the fourth quarter, snapping the team out of its dry spell. Juniors Jade Lin and Jalynne Li followed up with clutch three-point baskets, pulling South Pasadena to within two points of the lead. The Tigers maintained their aggression on the defensive end, while K. Kafkaloff heated up offensively with eight points in the fourth quarter. South Pasadena ended the game with a 10-1 run, putting it out of reach for Don Lugo. The exhilarating contest came to a close with the Tigers victorious, 49-44.
“The game started off well, but our defense started slacking once they got hot” Lin said. “Only in the last five minutes of the second half did we kick it up and pull through with better defense. In the end, Kristen helped us seal the deal with her free throws.”
With the win, the team advances to the second round of the CIF-SS playoffs. The girls’ next game will take place on Saturday, February 20, away against Burroughs High School.