Leuzinger defeats Granada Hills in dramatic fashion at Burroughs

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In a matchup between two teams that had rolled through their competition at the West Coast Holiday Tournament, Leuzinger and Granada Hills went toe to toe looking pursuing an unbeaten run and tournament bragging rights on Friday afternoon. Leuzinger walked away with a 65-64 victory, but Granada Hills will walk away feeling that they may have allowed a quality win slip through their hands.

After the eight minutes of play, it did not seem as if there would be much of a game at all. Leuzinger came out all systems go and took a 21-5 lead after the first quarter, led by their dynamic junior guard Madison Watts. Watts poured in 10 of the Olympians 21 points in the quarter, while also preventing Granada Hill’s guards from finding great looks from the perimeter.

Granada Hills began to find an offensive rhythm in the second quarter, knocking down 5 three-pointers in the period. All-City performer Marianne Boco found her offensive game for the Highlanders in the second quarter, matching Watts 10-point effort from the first with 10 points of her own. Karma Paez also contributed to the offensive barrage, adding 8 points of her own on the way to the Highlanders outscoring Leuzinger 23-18 to cut the deficit to 11 going into the halftime break.

In the third quarter, the Highlanders showed why they are one of the favorites to win a city championship by coming out strong and cutting Leuzinger’s lead down to 43-42, but a couple of big buckets by junior forward Dresha Moore helped Leuzinger extend the lead back to 51-42 headed into the final period of play.

In the fourth quarter, the Highlanders continued to battle back to make it a close contest. With a little over two minutes to go in the ballgame, the Highlanders had cut Leuzinger’s lead down to three points. In one of the turning points of the contest, Paez unleashed a three-pointer from the top of the arc that went halfway down and rattled out. On the ensuing Leuzinger possession, Dresha Moore found space on the block and converted a basket plus the foul to extend the Olympians lead to 6 points. Leuzinger had a chance to put the game to bed with 2 seconds left on the game clock, but after missing a free throw, Boco was fouled while attempting a full court heave, and was sent to the foul line for three shots to tie the game and send it to overtime. Boco knocked down the first to cut the deficit to two points but could not convert the second. After missing the third free throw on purpose, junior forward Emma Perez came down with the rebound and was fouled with no time left on the clock. She knocked down the first free throw but could not get the game tying free throw attempt to go. After a scramble for the loose ball, the time expired and Leuzinger escaped with a one-point victory and an unblemished record at the Burroughs tournament.

It was a valiant effort for the Granada Hills Highlanders who shook off deficits of 16 points, 11 points and 9 points at the end of each quarter to make it a competitive game. The end sequence ended up being a microcosm of the game, as the Highlanders missed 16 free throws in total during the contest. It was still a wholly successful endeavor at the tournament for Granada Hills, coming within a point of a perfect 4-0 record at the event. The Highlanders will look to get back on track on January 7th, when they take part in the Burroughs Varsity Extravaganza.

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