Fast start lifts Santa Rosa past Mt. San Antonio and into CCCAA Women's Basketball Semifinals

(Jon Marley, CCCAA)
(Jon Marley, CCCAA)

Tournament Central

LEEMORE - Santa Rosa, the north's number two seed, used a quick start to advance to the semifinals of the 2023 CCCAA State Championship at West Hills-Lemoore College after a 65-48 victory over Mt. San Antonio.

Santa Rosa will face the winner of the Orange Coast (South #1)-Sierra (North #4) on Saturday at a time to be determined.

The victory was Santa Rosa's 16th straight. The champions of the Big 8 Conference haven't lost a game since Dec. 30. Meanwhile, Mt. San Antonio, who came into the tournament on an 11-game win streak, finishes the season 23-8. Champions of the South Coast-North, Mt. San Antonio struggled from the opening tipoff.

Santa Rosa used a fast start to take control of the game early. The Bear Cubs never trailed in the game. In fact, Santa Rosa scored the game's first 11 points and never looked back.

"Every team here is good," Lacey Campbell, head coach of Santa Rosa, said. "I didn't expect (the defensive play to limit Mt. San Antonio) this so late in the season."

Santa Rosa maintained its double-digit lead through the first second, in the second quarter Mt. San Antonio slowly cut into the lead, eventually getting within two points at 18-16 on a Briana Lizardi layup with 5:43 left in the half. But the Mounties' excitement wouldn't last long as Santa Rosa went on a 13-4 run to close out the half, taking a 31-20 lead at the half.

In the first quarter, Mt. San Antonio struggled, shooting 18.8 percent (3 of 16) from the floor. For the half, the Mounties, who average 68.5 points a game, shot just 25 percent on 8 of 32. They missed all four three-point attempts. Meanwhile, Santa Rosa made 11 of 29 field goals (37.9 percent) and 3 of 10 three-pointers. 

The game began to get away from Mt. San Antonio in the third quarter as Santa Rosa extended its lead to 18 points as the Bear Cubs' defense held Mt. San Antonio to eight points on just 2 of 13 shooting in the quarter. With four minutes left in the game, Santa Rosa had opened a 20-point lead at 59-39 and maintained it to the final buzzer. 

Lizardi, who came off the bench for Mt. San Antonio, led the Mounties with 16 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Starter Kamesha Moore also scored in double figures with 12. Santa Rosa was led by Lowenberg who had 20 and Sheriene Arikat with 18 on 7 of 10 shooting.

Campbell said about Lowenberg, "she shoots the ball well. We try to get her the ball in spots."

(by Robert Schmidt)