By Ryan Herron
In the history of La Cañada High School, other than 17 Rio Hondo League Championships, the girls’ basketball team has never been crowned with the ultimate honor, a CIF-SS Championship plaque. Starting in their first season of 1973-1974, the 42-year-long championship drought of La Cañada’s girls’ basketball team was one game away from being broken. Unfortunately, the Spartans were unable to come away victorious and end the drought on Friday, March 4th .
The Spartans fell to the Antelope Valley Antelopes by a score of 59-46. Kristina Kurdoghlian led the team with 16 points, including 3 of 6 from three-point land. Several key three-pointers by Kurdoghlian in the third quarter kept the Spartans in the game.
Senior Sarah Kurdoghlian, who had 6 points, described how her cousin played, saying, “She definitely stepped up a great amount for our team. If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have been able to stay in the game.”
Zoe Williams had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Amber Graves recorded 7 points and 8 rebounds.
Leading up to the championship, first year coach Sarah Beattie guided the team to a record of 26-3. Seeded 2nd in Division 3A of the CIF-Southern Section, the girls had double-digit wins of 66-28 and 55-40 over Santa Paula and Leuzinger as well as a last second buzzer beater three pointer by Kristina Kurdoghlian to seal the 55-52 semi-final victory over Corona del Mar.
The Lady Spartans were able to muster large amounts of school spirit throughout their CIF run. Even though playing the championship at Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana, over 400 students and parents made the trek out to support the girls. Thanks to two fan buses, one for students and one for parents, many more spirited fans were able to attend the game.
The girls’ team isn’t done yet. They will continue their phenomenal season and look to better their 26-4 record on Wednesday, March 9th in the La Cañada Sports Palace against the Blue Raiders of Caruthers High School (Fresno, CA). The Blue Raiders won the Division V Central Section Championship.
This game will be the first round of the the CIF State Playoffs. The Spartans enter as the 2nd seed in the playoffs as they face off against 15th seeded Caruthers High School. In the Southern Section, Caruthers is ranked 35th by MaxPreps and hold an away record of 7-1 while the Spartans are ranked 27th with an undefeated home record of 13-0.
If La Cañada wins their first game, they will play on Saturday in the second round of the state playoffs. Coincidentally, if 7th seeded Corona del Mar also wins their first round game, the Spartans could replay the team they beat in the semi-finals of the CIF-SS playoffs.
As senior captain and starting shooting guard heading into her last run, Sarah explained her goals for the first round of state. “I’m looking forward to get back to how we used to play before the Antelope Valley game,” she said. “We need to focus on pushing the ball, playing really good defense, and not getting scared of our opponent. We just need to be ourselves.”
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LA CANADA, PROUD AND GRAND. ALMA MATER SHALL FOREVER STAND.