By Ryan Nakamura
Photos by Tucker Judkins
After an impressive league record with no losses, the girls’ basketball team looked unbeatable. Few expected the heartbreaking 38-60 loss to the Santa Margarita Eagles in the semifinals of CIF last Saturday, which resulted in the Tigers’ elimination from the tournament.
Both teams went back and forth to see who would chalk up the first points of the night. Santa Margarita took its home court advantage and quickly gained a four-point lead. The Tiger kept it close when senior forward Sophia Hathaway made a two point putback for South Pas. Unfortunately, the team only made one other point in the quarter after ice cold shooting hampered the team’s performance, ending the first quarter score of 3-12.
The Tigers started to gain some momentum when senior point guard Elise Takahama sunk the Tigers’ first three of the night. Santa Margarita wouldn’t let the team get their intensity up and returned a three pointer the next possession. Points went back and forth from there, with the Eagles constantly keeping about a ten-point lead on the Tigers, who couldn’t maintain a constant rhythm of scoring. Every Tiger basket was swiftly answered by the Eagles. Senior point guard Lexie Scholtz finished the half with a three pointer from downtown, only to head in the locker room down 13-29 in the first half.
The Tigers came back out swinging the third quarter when junior shooting guard Kristen Kafkaloff racked up two threes early on. Takahama also managed a three-point conversion to close the gap. However, Santa Margarita adjusted to the Tiger offense and responded with five points. With the clock running down, the Eagles began to push back the Tigers to gain two more points. Although the Tigers fought back, they couldn’t stop the game from ending 38-60.
Although the team’s CIF journey ends here, the girls hope to continue their season by applying for state playoffs, which begin March 9.