Girls varsity basketball punches bid to quarterfinals of CIF Championships

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Photo courtesy of: Brian Golderg.

Jamie Kim co-editor-in-chief

The girls varsity basketball team beat the Murrieta Mesa Rams 58-34 in the second round of the 2018 CIF-SS Division 3A playoffs on Saturday, Feb. 17.

The Normans showed dominance early on, leading the game 16-5 by the end of the first quarter and 29-17 by the end of the first half.

Lee believes that the team’s bonding activity, which included going to Dave and Buster’s on the way to Murrieta, helped the team throughout the game.

“[To prepare for the game], something special did happen. We got a chance to have a bonding session before the game, and I think that really brought us together and helped us on the court,” Lee said.

Despite the nearly two hours and 45 minutes to get to Murrieta Mesa High School, the team still felt prepared before the game.

“Traveling distances may lead to unpredictable outcomes, due to being on the road for so long and [having] less of a crowd. However, we were confident going into the game. I think that’s what separates good teams from great ones,” forward Amanda Lee said.

Center Chantal Moaward attributes much of the success to strong defense.

“We ran up the court a lot, and our defense was really good. We shut down their best players, and we all knew what we were doing. We were really in sync,” Moawad said.

The team will now advance to quarterfinals, in which it will face the Peninsula Panthers at home on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. According to Maxpreps, the Panthers are ranked 261 in state and 3,224 in the United States, while the Normans are ranked 127 statewide and 1,264 nationally.

In preparation for the next matchup, guard Megan Saghian says that the team is practicing plays and game strategies.

“We are working very hard in practice for Wednesday’s game. We had to make a few adjustments to our game plan to be able to face Peninsula,” Saghian said.

While the team’s first two games did not have many Normans in attendance, it still feels just as spirited.

“The lack of student body attendance can be demotivating at times, but ultimately we know we have supporters and truly all we need is each other,” Saghian said.

Nevertheless, the team looks forward to the next game.

“I️ would be really excited and grateful to move onto semifinals,” Moawad said. “I️t would really give me an extra boost of confidence to win CIF.”

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