Valley all-stars fall to Riverside

May 31, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — The Imperial Valley high schools' girls senior all-star basketball squad was defeated 62-44 here Wednesday by the all-star team from Riverside County.

Calexico coach Jamie Chew head coached the Imperial Valley team, while La Quinta's Michael Knight took coaching duties for the Riverside team. Chew led her team to a share of the Imperial Valley championship this year.

The Valley squad included players from Brawley Union, Calexico, Holtville, Imperial and Southwest high schools. Riverside County's team featured players from Coachella, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert and Palm Springs high schools.

Riverside jumped to an early lead Wednesday as Cariann Ramirez of La Quinta hit a jumper 40 seconds into the game to grab a 2-0 advantage.


Nora Nava-Esparza of Southwest tied things 23 seconds later with a lay-up of her own, but Jessica Lucas of Cathedral City scored only seven seconds later and Riverside never looked back.

In a few minutes the Valley was on the board again.

Brawley's Marquita Travis ended the three-minute scoring drought by hitting one of two free throws with 3:11 in the first, and she managed to grab a lay-up 20 seconds later to pull to within 9-5.

Riverside got a free throw, but the Valley managed to pull things close when Brawley's Lisa LeBaron hit a lay-up with 1:42 on the clock and banked a shot home within the final minute of the period.

Riverside held on to a 10-9 lead to end the first quarter.

The next three quarters wouldn't be as close.

For the first two minutes of play, Riverside matched every Valley basket with two of its own until Travis found her way to the hoop for consecutive baskets to pull to within three at 18-15.

Nava-Esparza pulled things a little closer with a jumper with 4:15 to play at 19-17, but two free throws by La Quinta's Adrienne Williams and a jumper from La Quinta's Electra Viveros gave Riverside a 23-17 advantage with 3:07 in the half.

Riverside extended its lead in the remaining minutes with help from Viveros and Desert Christian's Kristie Young and finished the half leading 32-21.

Things wouldn't look much better in the third quarter as Viveros took command for Riverside and gave her team four points to help the cause. The Valley only managed seven points in the quarter that came from the combined effort of Nora-Esparza, Travis and Imperial's Melissa Garcia.

The Valley squad trailed 47-28 going into the final quarter of play, where every gain of momentum was shot down by its opponents.

Cathedral City's Kaycie Tanner nailed two three-point baskets after Valley scores within the third and fourth quarters and Viveros hit a three of her own in the fourth to stop another run.

Garcia, Travis and LeBaron put up numbers for the Valley and the game ended 62-44 on a buzzer beater by Palm Desert's Katie Cosgrove.

LeBaron did not seem too interested in the defeat but was happy to have put on her Wildcat uniform one final time.

"It was awesome," LeBaron said. "I wasn't going to play but I'm glad I did."

She said she enjoyed the opportunity to play on a team with some of her former rivals.

"It was fun to play with all the girls from the Valley," she said.

LeBaron, who received a full-ride volleyball scholarship to the University of California, Riverside, said she plans to keep up with her athletics.

Brawley coach Mike Pacheco said the game was enjoyable.

"It's always fun to watch the seniors play their last game," he said. "I really think they enjoyed themselves."

Chew said she felt much the same way about the all-star game.

"It was something they'll always remember," she said. "They came out here and they were competitive. I think we were a little out-manned," she added.

She said that it was a priceless opportunity for the girls to play on a team with the girls they have competed against all four years of high school.

As for next year's IVL season, Chew said she thinks it will be competitive and even.

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