Eagles earn redemption in CIF Southern Section Division 2A girls’ basketball finals

Eisenhower’s Sa’lah Hemingway (23) drives by Paloma Valley’s Christianna Hawkins (21). Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

MENIFEE – Some almost fifteen months ago the Eisenhower girls’ basketball team fell in a CIF-SS final at Godinez HS in Santa Ana. Thursday night in Menifee the Eagles took advantage of a second opportunity by defeating Paloma Valley 75-53 and winning a CIF-SS 2A championship.

They are the 2nd area team to fall in a 2020 final and win one in 2021 (Aquinas boys). Ontario Christian looks to complete the trio tomorrow in Newport Beach at Sage Hill.

Paloma Valley’s Mya Pierfax (15) shoots over an Eisenhower defender during their CIF Southern Section CIF championship game at Paloma Valley High School Thursday, June 10. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

Mya Pierfax had nine early points (two threes) to give Paloma Valley a 14-12 lead after a quarter.

About twenty seconds into the second quarter Briana Lizardi connected from three-point range and gave Eisenhower a 17-14 lead. Pierfax answered with a three of her own to tie things at 17. From there the Eagles went on a 17-0 run, pushing their lead to 34-17 with 2:35 to intermission. It settled at half with Eisenhower leading 36-21.

Eisenhower’s Sa’lah Hemingway (23) drives by Paloma Valley’s Christianna Hawkins (21). Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

A senior, Lizardi said about the title “We were heartbroken leaving Santa Ana last year. But now I got what I wanted and came here for: my ring. I haven’t cried yet, but they’ll be tears of joy this time. When she (Pierfax) hit that first shot we took it personally (especially me) and got to it defensively.”

Sydney Woodley converted a three-point play which closed the gap to 39-24 Eagles (6:33 Q3). Then Eisenhower went on another lengthy run of 15-0 to go up 54-24. Kamaya Middleton highlighted the run with a three-point play where she was knocked to the deck but still converted a jumper. From this point it was a countdown as an outcome was decided.

Paloma Valley’s Sydney Woodley (2) drives to the basket for a layup during the first half of their CIF championship game. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

Eagles coach Antonio Quintero remarked “Briana took things up another level tonight with the lights at their brightest. Defensively we let the players responsible for guarding Pierfax and Woodley do their own film work and learn their tendencies. We started slow, but never put our heads down and finally got on a roll. I kept saying that runs are coming and here we are.”

In defeat, Lady Wildcats coach Matt Dale said “We tried to play one on one against them far too often and really didn’t execute what we worked on this week. I can live with losing but I don’t feel we represented ourselves well and that’s the worst thing from a basketball perspective.”

Runner-up plaque presentation for Paloma Valley. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

Derryl Trujillo can be reached by email at socaltrekkie@gmail.com.

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