After securing the title of Mission League Champions in its final game of the regular season, the girls’ basketball team won CIF Division I Southern Section Playoffs and qualified for state playoffs.
Following a 63-62 win against Chaminade High School on Jan. 16, the squad faced Marlborough School on the road Jan. 23 and fell to the Mustangs 51-38, marking the Wolverines’ first and only league loss of the season. After this match, the team won five games in a row, including a 47-44 win on the road against the Eagles on Feb. 4, earning the Wolverines its share of the league title.
The team faced a rematch against the Mustangs in its final regular season game on Senior Night, and defeated them 75-59 to clinch the outright league championship. Forward Rileigh Repovich ’20 said she felt that this pressure encouraged the girls to avenge their loss.
“During the first Marlborough game, we were playing well, but fell apart at the end because two starters got injured and another starter fouled out,” Repovich said. “We got disorganized and that led to ultimately losing. Playing Marlborough the second time was a completely different experience because it was Senior Night and we had the title of sole league champions on the line.”
The squad finished its regular season as the first-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs, which earned the girls a first round bye. After winning its first two games in playoffs and clinching its state playoffs berth, the Wolverines faced West Torrance High School, which they defeated 58-56 in the first win of their season Nov. 29, in the semifinals.
After overcoming a late push by the Warriors, the squad won the game 64-49, with forward Kiki Iriafen ’21 finishing with 31 points. Guard Mirabella Wong ’20 said she believes that the impending end to the season spurred the squad’s eight- game win streak heading into the championship game.
“The whole team definitely feels the pressure of this being the last season for the seniors because of how close we all are, so that has fueled us to want to do our best for each other to keep the season alive,” Wong said.
Throughout playoffs, the squad has won in convincing fashion, with its average margin of victory being 20.3 points, Wong said.
“We leave everything we’ve got on the court every game,” Wong said.
With this win, the squad faced a rematch against Troy High School, which it defeated 40-23 Nov. 30 in the championship. The Wolverines ultimately defeated the Warriors 55-42 Feb. 28 and were crowned CIF Division I champions. Iriafen finished with 27 points for the Wolverines.
Repovich felt that playing tough opponents at the beginning of the year and overcoming these losses allowed the squad to be successful this season.
“After beginning our season with four losses in a row, we really had the drive to bounce back,” Repovich said. “We played some of the best teams in the nation and were able to learn from our mistakes and apply this knowledge to our future games. We knew that in order for us to be successful we needed to pick ourselves up and not let the past losses define us and to just learn from them.”
Looking to next year, guard Krista Semaan ’21 said that the close-knit junior class will be key for the squad’s success in the future.
“It will obviously be hard to lose the seniors next year who bring life to our team, but we will only get stronger next year, as we will become smarter and more mature because we have played with each other for over four years,” Semaan said.
The girls will begin their CIF State Basketball Championship run March 3. Neither their opponent nor their seeding was available as of press time.