No. 1 Lady Titans dominate La Costa Canyon, 43-23, to win CIF Division I final
Phillip Brents | Fri, Mar 11 2016 12:27 PM
The Eastlake High School girls basketball team doesn’t misfire very often when reaching the San Diego Section championship round. The Lady Titans advanced to the CIF finals for the sixth time in school history and grabbed their fifth division title on the heels of last Saturday’s dominating 43-23 win over La Costa Canyon in the Division I title game.
Top-seeded Eastlake improved to 26-6 on the season with their fifth consecutive victory while the third-seeded Lady Mavericks fell to 23-9.
The Lady Titans dropped a 49-37 contest at Mater Dei Catholic on Feb. 11 as the teams exchanged home court wins to share this year’s Metro-Mesa League championship. But that was then. Eastlake’s players appear to be playing for the present, and have taken it out on their playoff opponents.
“We’re on a roll,” EHS head coach David Koopman explained. “We beat Mater Dei Catholic by 10 points the first time but lost to them the second time. I don’t have the answer to what happened. But since then, we’ve played excellent defense. We’re sharing the ball well, shooting lights out and playing as a team.”
Defense dictated the opening quarter of last Saturday’s Division I championship game, with the teams combining for just eight points. LCC led 5-3 but the Lady Titans reversed that to hold a 19-12 halftime lead.
Eastlake out-scored the Lady Mavs 16-7 in the second quarter and didn’t stop there. The Lady Titans poured in 13 points in the third quarter to expand their lead to 32-18 and out-scored LCC 11-5 in the final quarter to finish with a 20-point margin in the victory column.
“We couldn’t hit shots early,” Koopman said. “We just tried to convince our girls to just drive to the basket. Two things happen when you do that: you either make the basket or you get fouled.
“All the girls stepped it up, including the young ones.”
At one point in the second half, Eastlake played without any seniors on the court.
“It was good all around; our babies showed up,” Koopman said.
And those Lady Titan youngsters expect to grow into full-time varsity starters in coming seasons.
But nothing is set in stone, according to the EHS coach.
“You need to enjoy the moment — the present is a gift,” Koopman offered. “You need to cherish it. You never know what’s going to happen.
“The girls haven’t quit all season, I’m proud of them — win or lose. Our assistant coaches are tremendous.”
Statistics prove Eastlake’s domination in the title game. The Lady Titans shot 31.5 percent from the floor compared to just 13.1 percent for the Lady Mavs. Eastlake out-rebounded LCC 55-38 and scored 10 points off turnovers compared to four for the runners-up.
Jaeda Marsh led the Lady Titans on the scoreboard with 11 points while Haylee Owen dropped in 10 points. Olivia Klugg and Maya Robinson each scored six points while Auren Isaacson and Tara Clay each contributed four points. Yesenia Smith had two points.
Klugg and Robinson each had three assists while Klugg had five blocked shots and Robinson had three blocked shots.
Eastlake racked up 10 blocks in the game to none for LCC.
“I feel like we wanted it,” Marsh said. “From day one we set a goal to be in the CIF finals at the end of the season and we accomplished it.
“It feels really, really good At the end of the day, these girls are my sisters, not just my teammates.”
Koopman remains proud of the latest CIF championship Lady Titan squad — his first as a head coach — and the Metro Conference’s three other division finalists.
“No one thought we could play basketball south of the 54,” he said. “But we have four in the finals, three of them girls teams.”
Both teams secured berths in the opening round of Wednesday’s Southern California regional playoffs — Eastlake received the No. 7 seed in Division III and hosted 10th-seeded Lake Elsinore Lakeside (25-5) while LCC received the No. 10 seed in Division IV and met seventh-seeded Corona del Mar (23-9) on the road.
Lakeside ended Eastlake’s season with a 47-38 victory.