Video by Paul Bandong and Chauncy Miller
Lakeside Lady Lancers’ historic run came to an end Tuesday night with a 73-58 loss to the Santa Margarita Eagles in the semifinals of the CIF State Regional Playoffs.
The Lady Lancers had won the Sunbelt League Championship with a 10-0 record. They were the #2-seed in CIF Southern Section Division 3AA and rolled through their quadrant of the bracket with a bye, a 69-43 win over Wilson and a 58-53 win over Tustin.
In the Final Four round, they beat Corona del Mar 57-37 to advance to the CIF-SS title game. They ended up runner-up in the title game to Santa Barbara after a 67-43 loss. This was further than any Lakeside girls team had ever been before.
Lakeside qualified for the 2014 CIF State Division III Girls Basketball Championships. Every win was making school history. The Lady Lancers beat Hoover 68-46 and came from behind an eight-point halftime deficit to win 64-56 over South Pasadena. The win sent them into the Regional semifinals, three wins away from a State Championship.
Santa Margarita got off to a fast 8-0 start led by their lone senior, Zaire Williams, who hit two jump shots and stole the ball for a coast-to-coast layup. Star guard Kianna Williams put Lakeside on the scoreboard with a three, but picked up two quick offensive fouls driving to the hoop. Lakeside trailed 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The teams battled through the second quarter with Santa Margarita holding an 18-16 edge. “We wanted to stay within single digits of the lead,” said Lakeside coach Anthony Willliams. The score was 32-23 in favor of the Eagles. Rebounding post players Victoria Sosa and Emma Merriweather had each picked up their third fouls.
The Lady Lancers came out pressing and forced numerous turnovers that allowed them to narrow the gap, 34-31, in the opening three minutes. They were still within four points, 38-42 with 2:40 left in the third. Zaire Williams three at the end of the period gave the Eagles breathing room, 49-40.
Santa Margarita coach Matt Houser called a timeout with 4:32 left in the game and an eight point lead, 54-46. One and a half minutes later, Lakeside called timeout to stop an 8-0 run that doubled the gap to 16 points. Santa Margarita made 11-of-17 free throws down the stretch to ensure the win.
Tori Anderson scored 14 of her 20 points in the second half to lead the Eagles in scoring. Zaire Williams had 19 – ten in the second half– and post players Taylor Donohue and Sheldon Cornell each had eleven.
Kianna Williams led Lakeside with 24 points, 15 in the second half. Maia Crawley, Megan Wood, and Victoria Sosa each had eight points; Marissa Williams had seven. Tavian Lasley added another three to her season total of 42.
Lakeside finished the season 25-8. They lose only two seniors – Kianna Williams and Megan Wood – and look to return strong next year. “We have a lot of young players who are benefitting from this playoff experience,” said coach Williams, “They’re getting better every time we play.”