Lady Cavs avenge loss whipping St. Bernard

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The Del Rey League is ranked among the premiere prep girls’ basketball leagues in the United States with five very good teams and close games.

Serra was able to knot rival St. Bernard for the championship by avenging its 78-76 loss to the Vikings from Jan. 22 at St. Bernard by pulling away for a 56-45 victory last Thursday at Serra.

The Del Rey League is ranked among the premiere prep girls’ basketball leagues in the United States with five very good teams and close games.

Serra was able to knot rival St. Bernard for the championship by avenging its 78-76 loss to the Vikings from Jan. 22 at St. Bernard by pulling away for a 56-45 victory last Thursday at Serra.

The Lady Cavaliers, who tied with St. Bernard atop the Del Rey with 7-1 records, is 22-7 overall and took the third seed in the CIF-Southern Section Division IVAA. The first round, however, may not be easy as Serra will host former CIF-Southern Section Division VAA power Rolling Hills Prep from San Pedro in the first round tonight at 7 p.m. The Huskies were Division VAA champions the past two seasons but got moved up to the very highly competitive IVAA this year. Rolling Hills Prep is playing freelance.

Against the Vikings, the Cavaliers were able to overcome a game-high 30 points by junior Cheyanne Butler with their balanced scoring.

St. Bernard, however, was shorthanded as another key player, Chenelle Pelle, fouled out in the third quarter and had to be without Michelle Curry and Demoria White who were out with the flu.

Most of the first half was a see-saw battle but Serra took a 22-21 halftime lead when Nautica Morrow stole the ball then scored on a layup 10 seconds earlier.

In the second half, the Cavaliers took advantage of their depth. For the game, Deandrea Toler led Serra with 14 points, five steals and four rebounds. Eleven of her points came in the final two periods. Morrow added 11 points, six rebounds and three steals. Siera Thompson contributed 13 points, six rebounds and five steals. Tatiana Howard pulled down 16 rebounds.

“Our goal was to make the playoffs and win the last league game,” Serra head coach McKenzie Hadley said. “The girls did much better than they did in the first game. We’re continuously getting better. We played our game at our pace. St. Bernard is a formidable opponent.”

The only problem the Cavaliers had, though, was at the free throw line where they made just eight of 25 shots for a miserable 32 percent.

St. Bernard did not fare much better from the field or free throw line. “We had cold shooting,” St. Bernard head coach Bo Corona said. Cheyanne fouled out early in the third quarter. She was our big post player. It took away a lot of our rebounding.”

The Vikings entered the IVAA playoffs as the No. 4 seed but they won’t have it easy, opening against always tough Bellermine-Jefferson from Burbank tonight.

Top seed in the playoffs is Mar Vista Windward, which ended its regular season with a perfect 26-0 record and is rated fourth in the United States by Maxpreps Xcellent 25.

Second seed is Serra High from San Juan Capistrano.

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