Sam Bernstein staff writer
After defeating the Flintridge Preparatory High School Rebels in the CIF-SS Division Three-A championships, girls varsity basketball has repeated as CIF champions. The Normans beat the Rebels by four, 50-46.
The game started off slow for the Normans, who went into the second quarter down 11-8 and into the half tied at 22. Unfortunately for Flintridge Prep, the Normans have experience in close games. The Normans were only up by one at the half in last year’s CIF final win against Foothill Tech. This year’s team has played several games in which they were either down or tied at the half and ended up pulling away with the victory.
“We think of ourselves as a second half team. We always start as hard as we can, but in the second half we are more warmed up to the game, our shots start falling in, and we know how to guard the other team,” sophomore center Chantal Moawad said. “On top of that, we have a good halftime talk to hype us up, and we are more aggressive in the second half because of that final stretch.”
The Normans proved to be the second half force they pride themselves on being, ending the third with a four point lead. After not making any threes in the first half, they moved away from the deep shot and into the paint, where Moawad excelled. Moawad, who had three fouls in the first half, got more playing time and freedom in the third quarter. She was able to grab multiple key rebounds for the Normans, which led to fast break scores on the other end. Their third quarter ended strongly with a buzzer-beater three-pointer from senior guard Megan Saghian.
“Three-pointers are my comfort zone and I’m more accurate under pressure,” Saghian said.
The fourth quarter was back and forth between the two squads, with the Normans holding onto a one point lead going into the final minute of action. In the final minute, Moawad sunk two free throws and Saghian sunk one free throw to secure the win. The Normans ended up winning by four, 50-46.
Freshman guard Michelle Duchemin lead the team with 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Moawad finished with 14 points and a game-high 25 rebounds. Saghian hit two late threes and finished with eight points. The Normans dominated on the boards, winning the rebound battle 52-38.
The team that won it all last year was lead by two than-freshmen, Moawad and sophomore guard Arbri Gillis. Their growth, as well as additions like Duchemin, helped the team win it all in a new division this season.
“We knew that if we were capable of winning it all last season, we were capable of doing exactly the same this season,” senior guard Cheyanne Araullo said. “We kept that motivated mentality from last season and carried it with us for every game.”
The Normans will be continuing their playoff run on Wednesday, March 7, when they play Oxford Academy, the 2018 number one seed in the CIF-SS Division 3A playoffs, at the Swim Gym. The game tips off at 7 p.