East County Sports

Foothillers reach pinnacle

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Grossmont’s Taisha Silas sets a play on Friday against Crawford at Jenny Craig Pavilion. / photo by Ramon Scott



By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

ALCALA PARK (3-5-16) — On the back of TAISHA SILAS’ warm-up jersey is stenciled “Swaggy-T,” which is a takeoff from the Lakers’ Nick Young. Of course nicknames are the norm for the Foothillers, who captured the Division IV San Diego Section CIF championship with a 38-31 romp over Crawford at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion on Friday (Mar. 4).

Silas, who admitted she was strangled by a case of nervousness in the first half, came out big in the fourth period by scoring a layup and then nailing back to back 3-pointers to buck the Colts out of the saddle.

The victory, which hoisted the Foothillers season record to 25-5, earned Grossmont its first Girls Basketball San Diego Section CIF Championship in school history – that would cover 41 seasons.

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Grossmont’s Lydia Walcott (right) goes after the ball along with Crawford’s Edith Okello. / photo by Ramon Scott

“A lot of people doubted us from the start,” noted Silas.

Teammate LYDIA HALCOTT concurred, “We were in the same position going into this game. When we came up short last year we had to sit and watch everybody celebrate. I thought to myself, Man, I want to be in that position next year. And here we are!”

It was a close call for the Foothillers, however, as they led 31-29 three minutes into the fourth quarter. That’s when Silas took over, hitting back to back 3-pointers to put the Foothillers out of range of the challenging Colts.

Sparked by Silas the Foothillers outscored the Colts 13-3 down the stretch. It was a game of survival before that as both teams turned the ball over 22 times each over the course of a rocky performance on the Toreros’ large court.

“This was my biggest dream,” said Silas who made 6 of 15 shots from the floor including 4 triples. She also had 8 rebounds, as did freshman ATHENA SOTELO.

Halcott crashed the boards in a physical battle to come away with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.

“I was really upset how poorly I shot in the first half,” said Silas, who was 0-for-5 from the field in the early going. “It was embarrassing because I had my family here watching me for the first time. I think it was playoff game nerves because I just couldn’t get anything to fall.”

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Grossmont’s Symone Griffith goes in for a layup on Friday. / photo by Ramon Scott

Bottom line is, Silas found the range in the second half to hurdle the Foothillers to the Division II championship.

Fourth-year Foothillers head coach GRACE CAMPBELL has resurrected the program from the dead.

“It’s hard to believe we got this far this fast,” she said.

Grossmont’s record-breaking championship did not lead to a trip to Disneyland, rather it carried over to a post-season pool party and barbecue.

Grossmont:  Taisha Silas 15 (8 reb, 1 stl), Lydia Halcott 7 (7 reb, 1 ast, 4 stl), Athena Sotelo 5 (8 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Emily Barnes 5 (6 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl), Symone Griffith 4 (3 reb, 1 ast, 4 stl), Lina McDuffie 2, Jazmine Lee (2 reb), Ragina Turner (1 stl), Candace Henderson (1 reb).

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