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Tigers no trouble for Vikings

February 25, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

HOLTVILLE — The Holtville High School girls basketball team had little trouble advancing in the San Diego Section Division IV playoffs, dispatching Imperial 71-40 here Friday.

"I'm really proud of the kids," said Holtville coach Jim Sturgeon. "This was a good win for us."

Christina Ruiz led the Vikings (12-14) with 22 points and four rebounds. Mykell Johnston had six steals and Cindy Lopez added five for the Vikings, who forced the Tigers into a staggering 48 turnovers.

"We knew Holtville would come out strong," said Imperial coach Rich Ponchione. "They're a tough team."

The Vikings indeed came out strong. They forced the Tigers into 19 first-quarter turnovers in building an 18-3 lead after one quarter.

Imperial struggled again in the second stanza, surrendering the ball 17 times as the Vikings took a 34-15 lead at the half.


Melissa Garcia led the Tigers storming out for the second half. Scoring all of her team-high 11 points in the third quarter, Garcia helped trim the Vikings' lead to 36-24 but that was as close as Imperial could get.

"We got back in the game," said Ponchione. "But we couldn't execute when we had the momentum."

Ruiz and Regan Rothfleisch, who finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three steals, helped Holtville close the third with a 15-4 run.

The Vikings cruised through the final quarter as the teams emptied their benches.

Lopez finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for Holtville. Crystal Parker grabbed seven rebounds and scored four points for the Tigers.

Imperial finishes the year 10-14.

Ponchione thought too much time off might have been his team's biggest problem.

"We haven't played for a week and a half," he said. "We had a lot of down time and it was hard getting up for this game."

"This was a good win," said Sturgeon. "We got to play everybody and the team is in good spirits. We should have two days of good practices."

The Vikings will need two days of good practices as they next take on the division's No. 1 seed, Bishop's, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in San Diego. While the test will be great for Sturgeon's team, he thinks his squad has a shot at pulling off the upset.

"We're just now getting back to being the team we should be," he said. "We haven't played a good game like I believe we're capable of."

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