State Preseason No. 2 Windward headlines a strong group of semifinalists with two other state-ranked teams also still alive
Three of the teams that have reached the semifinals of the 10th Annual Palisades Beach Invitational are ranked in the Girls Top 35 Preseason Rankings, and one is on the Bubble and working its way back to getting ranked.
The group is headlined by No. 2 Windward of Los Angeles. The Wildcats made quick work of Woodland Hills Taft in Monday’s opening round with a running clock 64-22 victory. On Wednesday afternoon they got a little more work as early Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year candidate Jordin Canada and long-range bomber Emily Surloff each had 15 points in a 65-41 victory over host Palisades of Pacific Palisades.
Defending CIF Division II state champion and preseason No. 16 Lynwood opened with a 70-53 win over Palos Verdes (Palos Verdes Estates) and followed that up with a defensive-oriented 36-27 win over preseason Bubble team Valencia. Senior floor general Priscilla Lopez led the way with 11 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Senior power forward Crystal Lomax added nine points and seven rebounds.
Bishop Alemany of Mission Hills, the defending CIF Division III state champion and No. 23 in the preseason rankings, had two easy games. The Warriors girls opened with a 49-22 win over Riverside J.W. North, and then they blew away Garces of Bakersfield, 67-44.
Head coach Bryan Camacho has his relatively young team playing LA style scatter ball. They press and everyone contributes. Against Garces 14 of the 15 girls on the roster scored led by junior guard Breanna Calhoun with seven points.
The one Bubble team in the semis is Troy of Fullerton. They beat Los Angeles Marlborough in the first round, 56-46, and then won a thrilling quarterfinal in a 45-44 victory over Chaminade of West Hills. Flashy, quick and court savvy sophomore point guard Barbara Sitanggan, an All-State Freshmen selection last season, led the way with 16 points, and 6-1 sophomore win Rebecca Lazuka had 13 points, including a late three-pointer that pretty much sealed the deal.
The girls are off today for Thanksgiving with action resuming on Friday with Troy facing off against Windward in a match-up of point guards Canada and Sitanggan.
In what could be an even more interesting contest, Alemany and Lynwood meet in the other semifinal.
Look for a final blog when the tournament concludes on Saturday.