First published in the March 10 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
Saying this has been a remarkable season would be an understatement in describing the accomplishments of the La Salle College Preparatory girls’ basketball team this season.
After claiming their first CIF-SS Division 3AA championship in program history, the No. 1 Lancers have cruised into the state Division 3 regional finals and hosted Porterville on Tuesday evening; the result was unavailable by the Pasadena Outlook’s press deadline. If La Salle won, it would appear in its first state championship game at the Golden 1 Center arena in Sacramento this Friday, March 11, at 2 p.m.
The Lancers (30-2 overall) are playing on another level, having not lost a game since Dec. 10 while claiming 22 consecutive victories in the process.
La Salle recently posted a 52-36 victory over visiting San Diego Scripps Ranch, the No. 5 seed in the state playoffs, in a regional semifinal game on Saturday to advance to the regional final. Sophomore Ryann Riddle continued her postseason dominance by posting a double-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and two steals.
“Ryann is a stud. I mean, could we ask her to do anything more than handle the basketball, shoot open shots, defend post players and defend on the perimeter?” head coach Scott Wiard asked rhetorically. “That’s Ryann Riddle for you; she is versatile, talented and really coming into her own.”
The Lancers’ defense stifled Scripps Ranch and its top scorer, senior Amanda Kramer. Heading into the matchup, Kramer averaged 19 points per game but was held to only eight in the regional semifinal, including just two points in the second half. Meanwhile, Scripps Ranch entered averaging 57 points per game but was held to less than 40 points for the first time this season.
“That’s what we preached all year: if we want to be successful, we have to guard people,” Wiard said. “We have a lot of talented offensive players, but we really challenge them all year to be successful on the defensive end and I am proud of their effort tonight.”
Sophomore Audrey Chen recorded a game-high 17 points with four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
“Audrey is pretty special,” Wiard said. “She does good things on the defensive end, takes care of the ball on offense and finishes around the basket.”
Junior Reese Wong tallied 10 points, including going 7-for-8 from the charity stripe, while junior Ellie Chen and freshman Kaden Cortes added five and four points, respectively.
LA SALLE 47, RANCHO BERNARDO 35
La Salle defeated eighth-seeded San Diego Rancho Bernardo in a CIF State second-round matchup on Thursday, March 3, as Audrey Chen amassed 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and one steal. Riddle tallied eight points and 13 boards, while Cortes added 12 points and five rebounds. Ellie Chen had five points and six rebounds, and Wong and sophomore Avery Ward finished with three and two points, respectively.
LA SALLE 61, EAGLE ROCK 37
The Lancers opened the Division 3 state playoffs by collecting a blowout victory over visiting Eagle Rock High of the Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday, March 1. The 24-point margin was the second-highest of all first-round Division 3 state playoff games.
Riddle registered 20 points and seven boards, both team highs, while shooting 75% from the field (9-for-12). Audrey Chen collected 19 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals, and Wong tallied 10 points, five boards, four assists and three steals. Cortes finished with four points and four steals, while Ellie Chen and Ward scored six and two points, respectively.
LA SALLE 46, CERRITOS 33
After finishing as the Camino Real League champions with a perfect 8-0 record, the Lancers doubled up on titles by defeating host Cerritos in the CIF championship game on Saturday, Feb. 26.
“I am so proud of our kids that have come in the last few years and turned our program around and built something special,” Wiard said. “I’m really happy for our kids. They are the ones that worked so hard and put themselves in a chance to be successful.”
It was a tight battle at halftime with the Lancers leading, 19-18, but a 15-point third quarter helped La Salle pull away.
Audrey Chen led the Lancers by posting a double-double with a team-high 17-points and 11 rebounds.
“Audrey had a special game and that’s what big-time players do — they have big performances in big games,” Wiard said.
Cortes recorded 13 points and seven rebounds, while Riddle tallied eight points and eight rebounds. Wong finished with four points and five rebounds, and Ward and Ellie Chen each scored two points.
LA SALLE 49, HART 43
The Lancers traveled to Newhall Hart High for a second time this season and won the rematch in a much more crucial postseason setting on Feb. 23. Hart previously defeated La Salle — marking its first loss — in a tournament game on Dec. 1, 2021.
La Salle’s six-point margin of victory was the narrowest of the season, but three Lancers scored double-figures to advance to the CIF championship. Riddle and Audrey Chen each scored 12 points while adding nine and four rebounds, respectively. Cortes scored 11 points, Wong recorded eight points, while Ellie Chen and sophomore Aubrey Ramos each finished with three points.