Wins, But No Tourney Title, for Hoops Girls

The South Pas High girls basketball team won three straight games but fell to South Torrance 53-33 on Friday in the Arroyo Tournament Finals at Arroyo High to go to 8-9 overall on the season.

After beating Victor Valley and Arroyo on Monday and Wednesday to start the tournament, the Tigers extended their winning streak to three by beating Colony 54-46 on Thursday.

Sophomore forward Allysan Tse finished the game with 25 points, and senior guard Megan Yee had 10 points.

Head coach Cody Masden said the team pushed the pace well against Colony on Thursday, and it was their first game scoring more than 50 points as a team.

“We … executed better than we had been in past games,” he said. “Colony was a good team and they had a 6-footer that dominated. They were using her a lot through their offense, and sometimes she would dribble up from halfcourt. We tried to go 2-3 in front of the post for a while, but then in the second half, we went with the box-and-1 and just stuck one person on her the whole time and just had our other four play a zone, and it ended up working out for us.”

The Tigers are normally a 2-3 zone defense team, but they have the ability to switch to a 3-2 or a 1-3-1 defense if necessary.

The game against South Torrance on Friday was a true test for the Tigers, and they were able to keep single-digit leads after the first and second quarters.

The second half was a difference matter, and the Tigers started to get in foul trouble. Once senior forward Charlize Kruzic fouled out for South Pas, it was about keeping the ones on the floor from fouling out as well.

Tse finished the game with 19 points, and Kruzic added six points, eight assists, and four steals.

Masden said the game got away from the Tigers in the fourth quarter.

“They’re a very similar team in terms of size and the pace that they play at,” he said. “They’re a very well-coached team, so they were giving us different looks on defense, sometimes switching it up as we were coming down court, so it was hard to read the defense every time. Late in the fourth quarter, they ended up sending an extra player to guard Allysan, and she just kind of got locked down in the fourth and we made some costly mistakes in the end and just didn’t execute the way we wanted to because of the amount of pressure they were able to put on our ball handlers.”

The Tigers have had a difficult season thus far, but they are slightly below .500 heading into league play.

Kruzic agrees that it has been a little rough for the team.

“We started off the first few games with a lot of energy,” she said. “We are slowly building our chemistry to play well together. Our team this year has a couple of new players that bring an abundance of positive attitude in every practice and game. As for preparing for games, we make sure to encourage each other and stay focused during practices, even when certain drills are difficult. We are going to ignore the losses from the past and just prepare for league.”

South Pas begins league play at home on Jan. 10 against La Cañada.