Burroughs tournament championship extends girls' streak to 7 games

The varsity girls’ basketball team capped off a seven-game winning streak with a 38-28 victory over Burroughs High School in the Burroughs Tournament championship Dec. 13. The matchup was the team’s fifth game in five days, and the tired girls had to rely on defense to win, Head Coach Melissa Hearlihy said.

The low score reflected both teams’ offensive struggles. At the end of the first quarter, the Wolverines led 8-2, and at the half, they were up 17-10. Because the girls were having trouble offensively, they relied on full court pressure to earn easy points from their defense, Hearlihy said.

“Our team played really well throughout the tournament and I felt like our team did not have any doubt whether or not we could win the championship,” Jayla Ruffus-Milner ’18 said. “This positive energy kept us afloat and really helped us achieve what we wanted. We put a lot of our effort into this tournament and to just come out with a championship has really boosted our spirits.”

Teeana Cotangco ’15 led the squad from the point guard position and was named Tournament MVP for her performance in the Burroughs Tournament. She recorded 20 points against Newbury Park and came close to a triple-double against Valencia in the semi-finals with 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

“The tournament went really well,” Cotangco said. “I feel like we are all a lot more confident in ourselves and in each other. The team as a whole clicked and we all know our roles on the floor.”

The girls relied on the scoring and rebounding of freshman forward Ruffus-Milner throughout the tournament. In the championship, she contributed 11 points, including one of two back-to-back three pointers made by Ruffus-Milner and Lindsay Tse ’16 that extended the Wolverines’ lead to 13 at the beginning of the third quarter. Ruffus-Milner also posted 16 points and 16 rebounds in a dominant performance against Ribit Academy in the first round. At the end of the tournament, she was named to the All-Tournament Team.

“I thought I came out with a really positive attitude and really just tried to focus on being my best,” Ruffus-Milner said. “Of course I made mistakes but I just tried to focus more on what I needed to do.”

Jordan Brown ’16 led the team in scoring in the championship with 12 points, her third double-figure outing of the tournament.

After a seven-point loss to El Camino in their season opener, the girls lost their next two games to Long Beach Poly and West in the Redondo Tournament. The squad’s first win came against Palisades, as the girls held the Dolphins to 25 points in their 20-point win. They have now won seven straight games, and will try to continue the streak Friday against Hart.

“This season is going to be a big success because our team not only has talent and heart for the game, but also depth,” Ruffus-Milner said.

By depth, she is referring to each player’s ability to play multiple positions. This not only allows for more fluidity on the court with regards to player positioning, but also more possible rotations for Hearlihy.

During the run, the closest the team came to losing was against Ribit Academy in the first round of the Burroughs Tournament. Lauren Laesarde ’17 hit a turn around jump shot with five seconds left in the game. The shot lifted the girls to a 44-42 victory, their third in a row at that point.

“Our team also has improved so much over the summer that if we keep going at this rate, we will be a force to reckon with,” Ruffus-Milner said. “It does not matter what team we play because we will give it our all and play hard until the time runs out.”

The girls’ junior varsity team won the Newbury Park Tournament with a 59-26 win over Rio Mesa High School Dec. 13. The team is now 7-1 on the season. Its only loss was at the hands of Alemany in the Burroughs Tournament where the girls were defeated 49-41.

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