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Canyon girls basketball: Welcome back

Canyon girls hoops blows out Pioneer Valley in return

Posted: February 18, 2010 10:38 p.m.
Updated: February 19, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Canyon's Brooke Lemar (1) pulls up for a shot on Thursday at Canyon High in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs.

 
Last season, the Canyon girls basketball team was forced to forfeit several losses that cost the Cowboys a trip to the playoffs.

This year’s group looked like it was making up for lost time in an 80-43 pounding of Pioneer Valley of Santa Maria at Canyon on Thursday in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs.

“I think it was the first playoff game for a lot of them, so there were some nerves,” said Canyon head coach Chuck Johns. “We missed five or six easy looks early.”

Canyon (21-6) still managed a 20-13 first-quarter lead with help from its defense and senior point guard Brooke LeMar, who scored eight points in the opening frame.

Canyon started pressing in the second, changing the rhythm of the game.

Junior Adriana Dent had five steals in the first half and LeMar added three more, as the Cowboys swarmed Pioneer Valley and stymied its offense. 

“Where they did a great job, I thought, was once we broke their press,” Panthers head coach David Amido. “Once we got the ball past halfcourt, their second onslaught did a great job of forcing that second pass.” 

Pioneer Valley (13-13) turned it over 15 times in the first half, which enabled the Cowboys to double-up the Panthers 38-19 by halftime.

It didn’t help Pioneer Valley’s cause that LeMar was having one of her best games.

The team’s leading scorer coming into the game, she was in a slump for the last few games of the regular season.

“Today, I just had the mindset of getting to the basket,” LeMar said, “Because my shot hadn’t been falling lately.”

All that changed by Thursday.   

Taking charges on defense and clearly in control on offense, LeMar scored 14 points in the first half on 7-of-13 shooting. She finished with 21 points, five assists and four steals. Dent added 11 points, eight steals and six rebounds.

The teams traded baskets, but the Cowboys had too much firepower, and turned a 6-0 run into an opportunity to double-up the Panthers again at 50-25 with five minutes left in the third.

Ali Rodriquez led an uphill battle for the Panthers, scoring 17 points and adding three rebounds, but the Cowboys just had too much depth and experience.

Canyon got 30 points from its bench, led by sophomore Tiffini Stone, who scored 10 points.

With a few more steals, Canyon made it 60-36 by the start of the fourth and coasted from there.

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