There could be another Channel League champion on the Lompoc High campus in its first season as a full-fledged member.
This time, the Braves girls basketball team placed itself in a position to at least clinch a share of the league title after exacting revenge on Santa Ynez 60-44 at Paisola Pavilion inside Bryan Ayer Court on Monday night.
Back on Jan. 15, the Braves fell in a close battle with the Pirates 38-36. But now, the victory gives LHS (12-11 overall, 6-3 in league games) this scenario for Wednesday night: A victory and Santa Ynez loss gives the Braves at least a share of the Channel League championship with current league leader Santa Barbara, which is 7-2 in league contests after beating San Marcos on Monday night.
A win for LHS and a Santa Ynez win on Wednesday against Dos Pueblos means a three-way tie for the top of the C.L.
And Lompoc relied on the 3-pointer right away to put the game out of reach.
Mallory Branum, Raya Gonzalez and Alyssa Grossi each knocked down on 3-pointer in the first quarter, helping culminate in the early 21-12 lead after one. Away from the 3-point game, Mya Mendoza helped energize the LHS transition attack that has been a long staple of past Brave teams – taking control of the basketball, finding an opening in the middle then letting the basketball float out of her right hand for two points during the first.
And the sophomore Mendoza got involved in the 3-point act by nailing a late third quarter three.
Head coach Claudia Terrones was all smiles after the game, knowing the scenario her girls are now in at this point in the year.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Terrones said. “At the beginning of the season, we had a goal to at least make the playoffs, not knowing what the new league will bring.”
Terrones said following the Braves’ first league loss against San Marcos, she chose to encourage and not talk down to the girls following that contest.
“I told them, ‘We still have a chance to vie for a league championship.’ And we came back to beat teams like D.P. and then we lose three games and we’re like ‘What do we do?’ So I said ‘Here is the deal: We’re going run our road now and just take one game at a time. It (the playoffs) can still happen’. I really believed in them and now, they’re starting to believe in each other,” Terrones said.
Mendoza finished with 20 points to lead the night. Bella Robles, who was honored on senior night, added 15 points. Kayla Taylor added seven points. Gonzalez, Grossi and Branum each had six points apiece.
On the opposite side, Santa Ynez (13-12 overall, 6-3 in league games) is in the postseason regardless if it loses to the Chargers on Wednesday, head coach Jason Finley said. The first-year head coach prefers to just have his girls focus on the task at hand.
“We’ve got to handle our business against D.P,” Finley said.
Finley, though, expressed his disapproval of the night’s officiating. Things got chippy and emotional as players were fighting for looses basketballs and falling to the floor – but calls didn’t go toward the Pirates’ side. Only once did Grace Padilla draw physical contact and managed to earn two free throw shots after the technical foul was called.
Finley said he was instead slapped with a sideline warning in the fourth quarter.
“Santa Barbara just out-played us. But in this game, I’ll tell you right now: It was five-on-seven. This was the worst officiated game I was ever a part of,” Finley said. “He waits until the fourth quarter to tell me ‘Hey, tell your girls to calm down.’ I was talking to him the whole first half and he wouldn’t acknowledge me or talked to me. I’ve never complained about the refs until now. Any girls getting hurt on either side, it’s not OK.”
Padilla led the Pirates with 13 points. Madison Holbrook added eight. Lita Wright and Malia Loos both scored six points each.
Both Wednesday games are set for 7 p.m. The Pirates will host the Chargers while the Braves will be on the road.
Cabrillo 42, Dos Pueblos 41
Three Conquistadores scored past double figures in the narrow one-point victory on Monday night.
Morgan McIntyre scored 12 points. Alexa McCune added 12 points and Jesse Jenkins finished with 11 points. McCune also added four steals and three blocks on defense.
Cabrillo closes the regular season at San Marcos on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game.
Lompoc 46, Santa Ynez 43
The Braves picked up their second league win of the season down in Santa Ynez on Monday.
Ryan Morgan had 11 points. Benecio Cayabyab also had 11 points including, what LHS head coach Paul Terrones described, a late 3-point basket that gave LHS the lead. Kalub Ramirez added 10 points.
Lompoc will now host Santa Barbara on Wednesday at 7 p.m for Senior Night.
Dos Pueblos 41, Cabrillo 35
The Chargers held off CHS on Monday by six points, also sweeping the regular season series against the Conqs.
No other stats were available.
Cabrillo ends the regular season by hosting San Marcos at 7 p.m.