By Ryan Nakamura
Photos by Tucker Judkins
After a nail-biting four quarters at Temple City, the girls varsity basketball team narrowly finished the day with a 42-36 win on February 6.
Right from the start, the Tigers had difficulty adjusting to the Rams’ defense and their home court advantage. The team came out early when junior Kristen Kafkaloff scored the first points of the game after senior Sophia Hathaway took three back-to-back rebounds. However, Temple City responded with a tough defense that hampered the Tigers performance to a 10-5 lead.
The Rams began to push back with two points to kick off the second quarter. South Pas was able to keep Temple City at bay and slowly claimed the lead, highlighted by a three pointer from senior Lexie Scholtz. The Tigers battled to hold onto the lead, but the home court advantage started to get the better of South Pas as Temple City guard Janelle Santos took the opportunity to shorten the lead to a close 18-14 with two points to end the first half.
Starting the third quarter, South Pas had a harder time finding the net against the Rams, fueled by the ecstatic home crowd. Temple City slowly crawled their way into the lead when guards Kristin Takasugi and Santos both managed three points. Senior Elise Takahama answered back with a three-pointer and two free throws to keep South Pasadena in the game. From there the Tigers played catch up the rest of the quarter, with Temple City undeterred by the Tigers’ quick response.
“It was really tough in the third quarter because they [Temple City] started getting really physical,” Takahama said. “They came out in the second half really pushing us, but Coach just told us to play through.”
Going into the fourth quarter, South Pas took back the lead when Kafkaloff and Scholtz scored two points each early in the quarter. The team then regrouped and kept the pressure on the Rams, with Scholtz going on a 5-0 run and holding off Temple City for a final score of 42-36.
“We were out of sync for most of the game and couldn’t hit shots,” Head Coach Tammy Lai said. “Our defense stepped up and we were able to execute in the end.”
The team is looking to keep their undefeated run in the Rio Hondo League, going against Monrovia High School at home on Tuesday, February 10 at 5:15 p.m. The previous matchup between both teams led to South Pas coming home with a 76-35 win.