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Canyon girls basketball sees season cut short

Posted: March 1, 2014 10:50 p.m.
Updated: March 1, 2014 10:50 p.m.

NEWBURY PARK — Canyon girls head basketball coach Chuck Johns pondered the question on if his team overachieved this season for a second after its 51-37 loss to the Newbury Park Panthers on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division IA playoffs.

He decided they didn’t.

“I think that would be selling them short,” he said.

Canyon (27-5) won its fifth straight Foothill League title this season and made its fifth straight trip to a playoff quarterfinal in a season where others doubted they could do just that.

However, Canyon handled graduations by seeing a group of players grow leaps and bounds from the season before.

None more than senior forward Monica Friedl, who scored 15 points against the Panthers.

Outside of her, though, the Cowboys didn’t have much offense.

It didn’t help that they turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 27 times in the game.

Canyon trailed 10-8 after one quarter, but things fell apart in a second period in which Newbury Park (25-4) outscored the Cowboys 21-8 to take a 31-16 lead into halftime.

Canyon put up only two field-goal attempts in the second quarter.

“Their defense, we never played against anything like that,” said Canyon senior Kali Vittallo. “They switched everything and limited what we could do.”

The Panthers constantly switched matchups on the Cowboys, and bigger guards made it hard for Vittallo to operate.

She scored four points, but took just seven shots in the game.

Vittallo completed a stellar four-year varsity career by moving from shooting guard to point guard and was a major reason for Canyon’s success this season.

If Canyon had an opportunity to get back in the game it was the third quarter, when the Panthers scored only six points.

However, Canyon scored just seven.

The Cowboys cut the lead to 45-35 with 2:32 to play in the fourth quarter, but it was as close as they would get.

Newbury Park was led by 6-feet-tall center Kayla Overbeck, who scored 17 points, mostly in the post.

Alex Brunk scored 12.

Newbury Park was sound throughout and turned the ball over just nine times in the game.

Canyon, according to Johns’ estimate, had a quarter of the deflections it usually has on defense in a game.

“Our game plan was contest every possession, every shot. Play good hard defense,” said Newbury Park head coach Darren Burge. “Simple fundamentals in playoff basketball.”

Canyon senior Regan Chambers scored two points in her final game.


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