Second Half Lifts Bell-Jeff Past Oaks Christian!

December 3, 2010 by  

GARDENA — Lopez-Wood, Napier are catalysts again for Bell-Jeff in tournament quarterfinal victory.

Bell-Jeff expected a challenge Thursday and for more than a half, Oaks Christian’s 1-3-1 defense gave the Guards all they could handle in the platinum division quarterfinal game of the Inglewood City of Champions girls’ basketball tournament.

But much like they did in Tuesday’s pool-play victory over Chatsworth, Bell-Jeff found its rhythm in the third quarter, relying on the perimeter shooting of Rishonda Napier and Leslie Lopez-Wood to pull away from the Lions, securing a 65-47 victory at Serra High.

After each scoring 20 points against Chatsworth, Napier and Lopez-Wood combined for 42 — including eight 3-pointers — to defeat Oaks Christian for the second year in a row, securing a berth in the semifinals at 3 p.m. today against host Serra.

“It took us a few possessions to get used to (the 1-3-1 defense), but we started getting what we needed,” Napier said. “We’re doing a good job of looking for the person with the hot hand and getting the ball to our shooters.”

No one was hotter in the second half than Napier, who led all scorers with five 3-pointers and 27 points. The 5-foot-6 guard embraced the opportunity to go head to head with fellow junior Brianna Barrett, who led Oaks Christian with 14 points.

“We knew if we lost, we’d hear about it later on,” Napier said. “Our defense definitely sparked our offense. We got a lot of stops and a lot of good rebounds (in the third quarter) and we dug in deep and really pushed ourselves.”Oaks Christian which atoned for last year’s Div. IV state playoff loss to Bishop Montgomery with Wednesday’s 52-42 victory, held a one-point lead after the first quarter Thursday and trailed 29-26 at halftime. But with Crystal Owusu (12 points) the only other player in double figures for the Lions, they struggled to keep pace in the second half.

Lopez-Wood added 15 points, with three 3-pointers, and Jasmine Smith and Kiah Jones controlled play in the paint against Beth Mounier, Nicole Packard and Meghan McIntyre.

“We knew we had to step up our game on defense. Our offense was working great, but we had to get our stuff together on defense,” Lopez-Wood said. “We’re glad that we’re winning, but we always know we have a target on our backs, so we’ve got to continue to get better.”

Erik Boal

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