Presented an opportunity to make amends for two earlier losses to a most familiar adversary, Brentwood School girls basketball players arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena full of confidence that Wednesday would be their turn.
From the opening tip of the CIF Southern Section Division 4A final, however, North Hollywood Campbell Hall showed why it was awarded the top seed in the 32-team tournament. The Vikings raced to a 9-3 lead in the first four minutes and never looked back, leading wire to wire for a 66-29 victory.
The game was decided in the first half, as the bounces simply didn't go the Eagles' way, enabling Campbell Hall to score transition baskets. The Vikings (21-6) ended up with 24 fast-break points to Brentwood's seven and enjoyed the rebounding edge, 41-33.
"They came out more prepared and got flustered in the first half," Brentwood sophomore point guard Drew Cabral said. "We could've played way better but unfortunately we played to the scoreboard."
Brentwood Coach Charles Solomon knew that his team would have its hands full trying to contain UCLA-bound forward Lauren Holiday, whose brother Jrue also went to UCLA and is now the point guard for the Philadelphia 76'ers. Holiday did her damage with 16 points and 18 rebounds, but what the Eagles didn't expect was Natalia Azad's long-range efficiency.
Azad connected on six of eight three-point shots and finished with a game-high 22 points and Nicole Tolbert added 14 points for Campbell Hall, which outscored the Eagles 13-1 in the second quarter to build a 32-10 lead by the intermission.
Brentwood made 10 of 38 shots and was 0 of 5 from beyond the arc. Campbell Hall, meanwhile, was 24 of 61 from the field and made 7 of 15 three-pointers. Another key to the outcome was at the free throw line, where Brentwood made only nine of 24 attempts while Campbell Hall converted 11 of 16 tries.
Cabral scored seven of her 10 points in the first half and sophomore forward Kennedy Martin scored six of her eight points over the first two quarters. She also grabbed 14 rebounds before fouling out with 1:32 remaining. Cabral suffered leg cramps a minute before and sat the rest of the game.
Brentwood was nearly held scoreless in the second quarter, but senior forward Nikki Marquez sank a free throw with 39 seconds left. Marquez had six points, Sammie Schlessel had three and her sister Stevie Schlessel had two for the third-seeded Eagles (21-9), who were looking to avenge 67-44 and 53-41 losses in league play.
"We literally accomplished so much," Cabral said. "Just getting here was a big step for us, so overall it's been an unbelievable season."
Score by Quarters