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January 4, 2011 > Lady Cougars slip to fourth in home tournament

Lady Cougars slip to fourth in home tournament

By Nick Zambrano
Photos By Mike Heightchew

After a dominant performance in their quarterfinal match, a 51-37 win over Menlo-Atherton, the Newark Memorial Lady Cougars fell flat for the rest of their stay in the Newark Optimist Club-Lady Cougar Classic and finished in fourth place.

Taylor Presley, Taylor Norman and Kelsey Pease accounted for all of the points that the Lady Cougars put on the scoreboard in their win. Presley led the charge with 20 points; Pease finished the contest with 16 points and six rebounds; and Norman had 15 points and eight rebounds.

"We're real pleased with the consistency of the two Taylors and Kelsey," Newark head coach Darryl Reina said.

Moving to the semifinals, Newark ran into a brick wall in the form of eventual tournament champion, the Notre Dame Belmont Tigers. NDB used their size and outside shooting to put Newark in the third place, 49-33.

Size played a big, determining factor as the Lady Cougars could not find an answer NDB's senior banger Emily Morris. Morris torched the smaller Newark defense for 17 points and 13 rebounds.

As for Newark's big three, their output was similar to the Menlo-Atherton game, combing for 30 of the team's points. Pease had 11, while Presley and Norman had 10 and nine respectively.

The offense continued to sputter going into the third place game with Santa Rosa High. Santa Rosa came out firing and held the Lady Cougars to 13 points in the first half. In the second quarter alone, Newark could only bang out two points. It was clear that some changes had to be made.

With former Newark star Chaunise Powell on the bench (on winter break from the University of Denver) the Lady Cougars responded to the roars from their former star and turned a 42-13 half time gap into a respectable 65-50 loss.

"When you're down by 30 or 40 points it shows a lot of character to come back and still play the game and not just settle," Powell said.

Pease -- an All-Tournament Team selection -- finished with a game 15 points and an additional eight rebounds. Norman pushed the tempo for the Lady Cougars snatching three steals to go along with her 13 points and five rebounds.

The 2010-11 season will finally kick into full gear for Pease and her Newark teammates when they travel down Fremont Boulevard to play a hot-handed American High team on Jan. 4.

The Lady Warriors suffered their first loss of the season in their second round match up in the Costa Mesa Winter Classic to Huntington Beach 46-34.

However, Mission snapped back in their third place consolation game by narrowly escaping El Toro High. MSJ could have widened the gap if it weren't for the fact that they were held scoreless in the second quarter. The second quarter shut out cost the Lady Warriors the half time advantage and forced them into a defensive chess match with El Toro.

As usual, the defense came up clutch and held the Chargers to only 13 points in the second half.

American was one of three teams to take part in the West Coast's biggest girls basketball tournament of the year. The Lady Eagles, along with the James Logan Lady Colts, were in the Division I group. Since the tournament had a large amount of teams involved, the divisions were divided into smaller groups, American had the honor of playing in the smaller "Onyx" group.

With a 51-36 win over Alhambra High, the Lady Eagles locked up a spot in the Onyx Championship round against Drake. For the high powered American offense, 51 points was all that was needed to shut down the Pirates and clinch the Onyx championship.

In their second go-around with the Lady Dons from Arroyo High, the Washington Lady Huskies were unable to avenge the loss they suffered last month. In that December showdown, Arroyo rallied from a six-point half time deficit and flipped the final score in their favor, 51-47.

The sequel, taking place in the "Jade" group of the West Coast Jamboree, had the same exact outcome. Washington failed to garnish a lead throughout the contest, however, freshman Sierra Dixon provided a small spark with her team leading 12 points.

The Lady Huskies have seen the majority of their offense come off the hands of Julia Selph and Chessie Santeramo. Selph notched 12 points of her own in the contest; Santeramo had three. So for head coach Dave Bravo to find another scoring source inside his roster, it maybe a sign of good things to come for his young team.

The Lady Colts were placed in the "Topaz" group but unlike American got as far as the third place game. A lost to group championship Dougherty Valley clinched them a spot against Sacramento's Bradshaw Christian School.

Junior forward Rose Tahaafe led the Lady Colts with 13 points and was 5-8 from the free-throw line. Fellow junior Danielle Ioramo contributed for 11 points.

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