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Girls Basketball

Righetti Shows It Belongs in TOC, Advances to Gold Division Semifinals

Warriors Beat North Torrance; Sophie Torres scores 18 to lead Santa Barbara over Hanford in consolation play

Second-year Righetti girls basketball coach Desiree Domingues believes her Warriors can play with the elite teams from Southern California.

The Warriors definitely have bought into it. For the second straight night, they knocked off a CIF-Southern Section power in the Gold Division at the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions.

Righetti led North Torrance 36-16 at halftime and held off a furious Saxons’ comeback attempt for a 54-46 victory at J.R. Richards Gym on Wednesday to earn a spot in the semifinals.

The Warriors (5-1) face Bishop Montgomery in the second semifinal on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Bishop Montgomery beat Los Alamitos, 63-53. In the 6 p.m., semifinal, top-seeded Ventura takes on Orange Lutheran.  Ventura routed South Torrance 53-28, and Orange Lutheran shut down San Diego-Westview 34-24 on Wednesday.


Santa Barbara High bounced back from its first-round loss against Los Alamitos, beating Hanford 66-59. The Dons play Buena for the second time this month at 1:30 p.m.

Righetti, ranked second in Division 2A, has posted two impressive tournament wins against Buena and North Torrance, 1A and 1AA division-ranked teams, respectively.

“If they girls play hard, they can beat any team, and I tell them that,” coach Domingues said. “I don’t see anybody beating them if they play their game."

She added: "I was just hoping to come into the Tournament of Champions and get experience playing good teams, and here we are in the semifinals.”

Alijah Paquet got the Warriors going against North, knocking down three of her five three-pointers in the first period, helping them to a 22-4 lead.

“She’s a sophomore,” Domingues said. “ She’s a phenomenal shooter, that’s her thing. Sometimes she thinks she shoots too much. But I tell her, ‘That’s why you are on this team. If you’re open, shoot the ball. If you’re not on, keep shooting till you get on.’”

Righetti was the taller team, but it showed it could run with North Torrance and pushed the lead to 36-16 by halftime.

Two baskets by Mariah Vargas and Paquet trey increased the advantage to 43-26 in the third quarter before North Torrance started making its move.  Jessica Murobayashi hit a three-pointer and Madison Shigeta scored five straight points to cut the deficit to 45-34.

A steal followed by a Shigeta three-pointer made it a six-point game, 47-41, with 2:56 to go.

“I knew they had the potential to come back. It was kind of stressful,” said Domingues.

But the Warriors thwarted the comeback behind the play of Danita Estorga.

The 6-foot-1 senior came up big down the stretch. She had a steal, sank a free throw after being fouled on an offensive rebound and scored on a second offensive board to give Righetti some breathing room at 50-41.

But North wouldn’t quit fighting. Shigeta nailed her sixth three-pointer of the game and the Saxons stole the inbound pass. They missed a shot but got the offensive rebound. Estorga, however, made another huge play, blocking the follow attempt and controlling the ball. She was fouled and made two free throws to give the Warriors a 52-44 lead with 40 seconds left.

“She is definitely one of the more experienced players,” Domingues said. “You leave her in the game and she’ll make those plays when we need her to. Whenever it’s clutch, she can come through.”

North’s Brittany McPherson drove in for a basket, and the Saxons fouled Maya Armento on the inbound pass. She calmly made both free throws for an eight-point lead (54-46) with 26 seconds to go. North missed a three-pointer and Righetti took the victory.

Estorga finished with 10 points and Dasia Ramirez had eight. Shigeta scored 18 and Cheidan Mataalii added 11 for North.

Santa Barbara 66, Hanford 59

The Dons received a confidence-boosting performance from Sophie Torres. She scored a team-high 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting.

Kimberly Gebhardt owned the boards, grabbing 18 rebounds to go with 13 points for a double-double. Anais Jimenez also recorded a double-double with 10 points on 12 rebounds. Kristen Sullivan got some open looks and scored 13 points.

Santa Barbara started well, leading 16-10 after the first quarter and 35-21 at halftime.

In other action Jess Malazarte and Kayla Padilla combined for 41 points in Bishop Montgomery’s win over Los Alamitos. Cailyn Crocker scored 20 for Los Al.

Ventura race out to a 12-2 lead in the first quarter and led 30-8 at halftime in its 53-28 win over South Torrance. Svannah Page had 17 points and Aubrey Knight 11 for the Cougars.

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