East County Sports

Semifinalists Sultans are sudden stars

Santana's TIKA TAYLOR retreats following her three-pointer in the fourth quarter Friday night. / EastCountySports.com photo





By Ramon Scott



LA MESA – The Santana Sultans were cool under pressure once again the final minutes Friday night, turning to a trio of clutch performers to push them past Grossmont and into the San Diego CIF Division 3 semifinals.

Grossmont’s CANDACE HENDERSON goes up for a shot during the second half as Santana’s JANICE DEGUERIO (3) and ZOE SHIBLEY pursue. / EastCountySports photo

The Sultans’ ZOE SHIBLEY, MANDI STABLEIN and TIKA TAYLOR  had key baskets down the stretch to rally their team from a 37-32 deficit with 3:25 remaining to a 42-40 semifinal victory over the host Foothillers.

“Props to Grossmont they played a hard game,” Shibley said. “But, we’re moving on in CIF.”

It was the second win of the season for the Sultans over the defending section champions in Division 3. Santana won the first meeting – also in the Foothillers’ gym, 52-49 back on Jan. 11.

Friday night, Stablein hit a game-tying three-pointer with 2:45 to go, knotting the game at 37-all.

Taylor, who scored seven points in the fourth quarter, then gave the sixth-seeded Sultans the lead moments later, and Shibley made it a two-possession game with a three-pointer – her third of the game.

“We came out strong, but Grossmont came back on us in the second quarter,” said Shibley, who had 19 points in the first meeting of the season. “We kept fighting through the third, but those late baskets gave us that momentum in the end.”

Santana (16-11) was held to just one point in the second stanza and the game was tied at 16-all at halftime, then CANDACE HENDERSON was primarily the Foothillers’ entire second-half surge.

Santana’s SIERRA SIMANEK goes for a block during the fourth quarter Friday night. / EastCountySports photo

Henderson gave the third-seeded Hillers a 24-23 lead, hitting a three-pointer with 3:30 left in the third quarter.

The Sultans got the lead right back when Santana’s JANICE DEGUERIO fed KOBI HOLLAND for a basket.

However, Henderson came down the floor and answered with another three.

With the score tied 29-all entering the fourth, Henderson put Grossmont (24-7) back in front with a pair of scores, including a breakaway layup.

After scoring six points in the third quarter, the Sultans’ SIERRA SIMANEK got the Sultans’ late rally started with a field goal.

“Hats off to Santana,” Grossmont head coach GRACE CAMPBELL said. “They fought hard to pull off the win and they deserve it.

“Overall, we had another successful season.”

Grossmont’s TAISHA SILAS and Santana’s JANICE DEGUERO go for a loose ball Friday night. / EastCountySports photo

Henderson finished with 21 points, five steals and three rebounds, while teammate ATHENA SOTELO had 10 points, six steals, five assists and six rebounds.

The Hillers’ TYANA WARSAW had four points and six rebounds, while EMILY BARNES added two points and grabbed nine rebounds. TAISHA SILAS had three points for Grossmont.

Santana advances to the division semifinals, where they will get a chance to host the game for a bid to the finals at Jenny Craig Center after San Pasqual upset second-seeded El Capitan.

The 10th-seeded Golden Eagles will travel down to Santee for the game next Tuesday at 7 p.m.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *