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Golden Valley girls hoops wins first playoff game ever

Grizzlies defeat Rancho Alamitos on the road

Posted: February 22, 2014 10:10 p.m.
Updated: February 22, 2014 10:10 p.m.
 

The biggest message Golden Valley girls basketball head coach Kerri Garland tried to convey to her team was how good they were.

Going into Saturday night’s CIF-Southern Section Division IIA first-round playoff game, Garland told her team they had a chance to make history.

She was right.

The Golden Valley Grizzlies earned their first playoff win in school history by beating the Rancho Alamitos Vaqueros of Garden Grove 57-37 at Rancho Alamitos High.

This is the Grizzlies’ fourth appearance in the postseason with the first three coming in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

And after going 14-11 in the regular season and 3-7 in the treacherous Foothill League for fifth place, Golden Valley broke through on Saturday.

“It’s exciting for (the players) because it’s hard to come off a league season where you only win three games but (other people) don’t understand what league we’re in,” Garland said. “We’ve been playing playoff games for 10 games.”

Mariah Madison led Golden Valley with 15 points and Caitlyn Zindroski tacked on 13.

The Grizzlies led 24-22 at halftime but they started creating separation when their consistent pressure defense disrupted the Vaqueros (14-4), who were the champions of the Garden Grove League.

“I think our defense is what did it in the second half because we pressured them, and they didn’t have a guard that could beat it,” Garland said.

Golden Valley also helped its cause by winning the rebounding battle. Cherokee Cardriche had 14 rebounds to go with nine points and LaDaesha Merriweather secured 18 rebounds of her own.

By the end of the third quarter, the Grizzlies led 46-35. They outscored Rancho Alamitos 11-2 in the final period.

In the second round on Wednesday, Golden Valley will play at home against North Torrance, the bracket’s No. 4 seed.

The Grizzlies will go in with some momentum.

“I think we were kind of peaking at the right time,” Garland said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but overall they just understand the game a lot better.”

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