The Bishop Diego girls rallied in the fourth quarter to close a 10-point gap but came away with a 38-34 loss to host Avalon in the championship game of the Avalon Classic on Friday.
Galilea De La Cruz scored 24 points for the Cardinals, and Jaymi Coronado added seven. Citlali Morales, a catalyst on defense for Bishop Diego in the tournament, was named to the All-Tournament team.
“We started out slow and trailed basically the entire game,” Cardinals coach Jeff Burich said. “The kids battled back in the fourth quarter.”
Down 29-19 to start the final frame, the Cardinals rallied. A four-point play by De La Cruz pulled them to within one at 34-33, and she later hit a free throw to tie the game. Avalon scored to retake the lead at 36-34 with 90 seconds left.
“We had three or four good looks on our next three possessions, but nothing fell,” Burich said. We were still down two with 20 seconds left, and got a steal in our full court press and had another look near the basket and missed.
“In the scramble for the loose ball, Avalon got a player free down the court for an easy layup, and that was the difference.”
Bishop Diego, now 16-2 overall, came away with runner-up honors. The Cardinals now look forward to opening Tri-Valley League play at home Thursday, January 5, against Santa Clara.
“I’m proud of how we battled despite not playing the way we are capable,” Burich said. “We had way too many unforced errors and it’s hard to win when you are outshot 25-13 from the free throw line.”