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Camila Casanueva’s 3-pointers Carry Dos Pueblos Into TOC Green Semifinals

Chargers knock off El Dorado for ninth straight win; San Marcos falls to Nipomo

Lauren Noggle sets a pick for Dos Pueblos teammate Camila Casanueva during the Chargers’ win over El Dorado. Click to view larger
Lauren Noggle sets a pick for Dos Pueblos teammate Camila Casanueva during the Chargers’ win over El Dorado. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

Camila Casanueva went on a three-point shooting spree in the second half and finished with 31 points, leading Dos Pueblos to a 57-49 win over Placentia-El Dorado in a Green Division quarterfinal game at the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on Wednesday at the San Marcos Thunderhut.

The win gives the Chargers a 9-0 record and puts them in Thursday’s semifinals against Arroyo Grande at 7:30 p.m. at the Thunderhut. Arroyo Grande beat San Diego-San Marcos, 46-41.

(TOURNAMENT RESULTS, BRACKETS)

After struggling to knock down open-look threes in the first half, Casanueva caught fire at the end of the third quarter. She buried five of her six treys in the last 10 minutes of the game. She nailed one with 2:07 to go in the third to give DP a 38-37 lead. After Kayla Dean put El Dorado back in front with a basket, the senior point guard went back to work. She went one-on-one with a defender, pulled up and buried a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 41-39 lead.

Lauren Noggle blocks out El Dorado’s 6-4 Kenedy Lilly for a rebound. Click to view larger
Lauren Noggle blocks out El Dorado’s 6-4 Kenedy Lilly for a rebound. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

“It happened in the last game too,” Casanueva said. “I missed a couple of early shots, but I just stay confident, keep shooting my shots. I know when I’m open I got to take it. My teammates believe in me so it always makes it easier.

Casanueva stayed hot to start the fourth quarter, hitting two more bonus shots for a 47-39 advantage.

“She kind of put us on her back like she has for four years,” said DP coach Phil Sherman of his four-year varsity starter.

El Dorado (6-3) got back-to-back buckets from leading scorers Brianna Aluya (19 points) and 6-4 sophomore Kenedy Lilly (16 points) to pull within three. DP came right back with a three-pointer by Kristina Mortimer and another from Casanueva to go up by nine, 53-44.

The Chargers also came up with clutch defensive plays down the stretch.  Lauren Noggle forced a turnover while battling with Lilly in the low post and Amber Belletti tipped a pass away from the tall player.

“Noggle made a really good play on the big girl where she just decided to get kind of nasty and that helped because she was kind of dominating us for a while,” said Sherman.

“They were battling down there. They played great defense,” Casanueva said of Noggle and Belletti.

Mortimer and Casanueva sank free throws to ice the quality victory. El Dorado is ranked 10th in CIF-SS Division 1A team while DP is third in 2AA.

“This is a great team win. We knew coming in they were going to be a great challenge for us,” Casanueva said of the Golden Hawks. “We haven’t had a lot of competition. We’ve been blowing teams out, so I think this was a good win for us, to play a really good team, kind of what we’re going to see in the playoffs. I’m very happy for our girls.”

Nipomo 47, San Marcos 31

Nipomo senior guard Kylie Mendez scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half to take over the game and lead the Titans to the Green Division win.

Milan McGary scored 10 to lead the Royals.

"We played two quarters of really good basketball, and two quarters of we-need-to-improve basketball," San Marcos assistant Aaron Solis said. "The girls are hustling and trying, but they are learning the true meaning of competing for the entire game."

The Royals will play Pioneer Valley at 1:30 p.m., Thursday at San Marcos.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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