East County Sports

Patriots lead early, fall in regional


EastCountySports.com staff report

KING 64, CHRISTIAN 56 – The Patriots had an awesome start to their Southern California regional playoff game, leading 16-8 after one period by forcing several turnovers by the hosts and taking a 12-point lead early in the second period.

“It seemed like we were forcing turnover after turnover,” Christian High head coach VICKIE CARRINGTON said.

King went on a 20-2 run as the Patriots went on to trail by a 28-23 count.

King scored 12-straight points at one point in the second quarter, then opened up the third quarter by leaving behind the Patriots, holding them to another scoreless run.

King scored 10 points in the final 1:30 of the third quarter for a 20-point lead.

The memorable season came to a conclusion for the Pats.

“I just want to jump up and do a toe touch cheer jump,” Carrington said. “I am so very proud of the Christian Lady Patriots.

“My gosh,  what we’ve done in two seasons winning the City League and D3 in CIF last year then coming back this year and being co-league champs the in Western League, making it to the final four in the Open Division and advancing to the first round in Division I State is just amazing.

“We’re a small Christian school competing with the best in the state and making history for our school. Trust me, I am beyond proud, blessed, happy, and thrilled. We’ve had a great year.”

Williams had the hot hand but ran into foul trouble early, forcing the coach’s hand.

“I truly believe we were well prepared and had a great game plan,” Carrington said. “We began executing it to the script in the first quarter we came out and did just about everything right. But the foul count was tough in the first quarter.

“We had a lot of calls against us and literally one against them – according to the refs – but in my opinion, they missed several fouls on MLK.

“It really shifted the way the girls were playing or wanted to play.

“They ran a 1-3-1 full court press that we were well prepared for, but yet under pressure we made unforced errors. It was just one of those games.

“A true heartbreaker. We were out hustled, out rebounded, and kind of had our backs up against a wall just a little. Foul count was not in our favor.

“I want to thank everyone who supported us this season. I know we made everyone proud and we appreciate your support. We are bringing back the Christian High Lady Basketball of the past. Love my school and my squad.

Sophomore KRISTIN WILLIAMS had a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter for Christian High.

“I think I played okay but I made some poor decisions by fouling,” Williams said. “I think we just needed to step on their necks after the first quarter and execute the game plan.

Still, Williams’ and the Patriots’ future is full of promise.

“The season was amazing,” Williams said. “I’m so proud of my teammates and what they have done this year. It was a tough loss but I think we will come back bigger and better next year.”

Junior SIMONE JAMES reached a career milestone during the regular season and will be a top returnee on a sure favorite as one of the top teams in the county next year, as well.

“My most memorable moment in this season was being able to reach the 1,000-point mark in my junior year,” James said. “Without my teammates, it wouldn’t have been possible to reach such an exciting moment.

“They have been such a tremendous part of my success and my success is our success.”

Junior ALLIE CARREON also adds to the list of high-level returnees for the Patriots following this memorable year.

“I think my most memorable moment of the season was hitting the buzzer-beater three to send us into overtime against Cathedral,” Carreon said. “Just seeing the crowd go crazy and my teammates when they ran to me. Also just knowing I gave us a chance to get back into the game.”

For senior YESSINIA SMITH, she leaves behind a tremendous season and showed the leadership expected of next year’s older players.

“The game performance today was shaky but I’m just proud of our program this season,” Smith said. “Our program is so young and the growth in the next couple of years is definitely gonna be something to stick around for.

“For me, this season was just a journey between me and God and it’s sad it has to end but it was fun. Just thankful for the opportunity.”

Senior ZOE NORDLING also helped kindle Christian’s girls program to new heights.

“We had really high intensity the first quarter,” Nordling said. “Our defense was tough and our shots were on-point. As the game progressed, we started becoming lazy and turning the ball over unnecessarily, allowing them to score.

“This season was really fun. Definitely room for improvement but I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished and the attention we’ve gained. This program is just beginning and I can’t wait to see where it will end up.”

King will advance to face the Patriots’ section rival, Cathedral Catholic, on Thursday.

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