Lady Cavs get their regional title, head to first state final

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Third time was a charm for Serra High’s girls’ basketball team as it won its first Southern California Regional Division IV championship with a 63-54 victory over Del Rey League rival St. Bernard last Saturday at Colony High in Ontario.

The Lady Cavaliers, who are 29-5, won the title a year after losing the Regional Division IV final to La Jolla Country Day last year and to Santa Maria St. Joseph two years ago in the Division III championship game.

Third time was a charm for Serra High’s girls’ basketball team as it won its first Southern California Regional Division IV championship with a 63-54 victory over Del Rey League rival St. Bernard last Saturday at Colony High in Ontario.

The Lady Cavaliers, who are 29-5, won the title a year after losing the Regional Division IV final to La Jolla Country Day last year and to Santa Maria St. Joseph two years ago in the Division III championship game.

Serra set the tone at the beginning as it surged out to a 13-1 lead with about four minutes into the game.

After that, the Lady Vikings, who handed the Cavaliers their only Del Rey League loss in January at St. Bernard before Serra bounced back with a 56-45 home win on Feb. 5, began to inch in.

The Cavaliers still led by seven (35-28) at halftime and four (47-43) after three quarters.

A basket by Chanelle Pelle and a free throw from Cydney Bolton got St. Bernard (27-8) within one point at 49-48, but Deandre Toler’s basket began to thwart the Vikings’ rally.

University of Michigan-bound senior guard Siera Thompson, then, scored on a turnaround jumper and Caila Hailey hit a three-point basket to up Serra’s lead to 56-48. Two free throws, each, by Hailey and Tatiana Howard completed the Cavaliers’ 11-0 run to give them a 12-point advantage (60-48) with 1:04 left in the game, putting the game out of reach for St. Bernard, which tied for the Del Rey title with Serra.

“For St. Bernard, the main five played a lot,” Hailey said. “We wanted to get them tired. We stretched our lead.”

Serra was led by Thompson who led all scorers with 24 points. Thompson also grabbed seven rebounds. Hailey, a junior guard, added 13 points and Toler, who will be playing at Oregon next season, contributed 12 points and five assists.

“The girls were so hyped,” Serra head coach McKenzie Hadley said. “Their energy level was high. We set the tone early, then St. Bernard made a great comeback. We wanted to keep the pressure. In the fourth quarter, we wore them down.”

Pele and Lajaahna Drummer shared the Vikings’ high scoring honors with 13 points, apiece.

The Cavaliers will take their first ever trip to Sacramento for their first California state championship as they face Northern California Division IV champion Salesian High from Richmond Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Salesian won the Northern California title with a 53-43 win over Piedmont last Saturday.

Lady Cavs get their regional title, head to first state final