NEWPORT BEACH – Point guard Cydney Jover dribbled between her legs near the half court and smiled as the clock ticked down the last seconds of history on Wednesday, June 9.
The Newport Harbor High women’s basketball team was the CIF Southern Section champion for the first time.
The coastal school that produced Olympians in volleyball, water polo, rowing and sailing eventually broke through by defeating Rancho Christian de Temecula 58-45 in a quick final of Division 4A defined by the races of both teams .
Newport Harbor (18-2) made the final inning before being rushed by its section of student cheers in a wild post-game celebration.
“It’s a little emotional. I’m not going to lie, ”said Jover, a three-year-old rookie junior. “Newport Harbor has never done this before for women’s basketball. To make history in our year is crazy. It’s crazy.”
But it’s been that kind of spring for Newport Harbor. With the combination of three seasoned starters and a trio of key transfers, the No.2 Sailors won their first league title since 1994, made the playoffs for the first time since 2010-11 and reached the final for the first time. since ’94.
“It’s surreal,” said sixth-year coach Jillian Angell of Newport Harbor. “I am still in awe. We are so excited. I can’t believe this just happened. We knew it would be the toughest game, but we also knew we had the advantage of being in the Sunset Conference. ”
In an all-field pressing clash, Newport Harbor took advantage of a push in the second period and a strong start in the third quarter to open up a 19-point lead to a 3-point by bouncing ace Emma. Fults. But Rancho Christian (8-2) took the lead and was led 47-40 after a 3 points from Irene Jirassevijinda with around 6:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Newport Harbor responded with an 11-0 run, scoring turnovers to seal the victory. Jover started the race with a 3-point pointer with 5:10 left on a transfer steal by Crean Lutheran Daelyn Renee. Jover scored again in a breakaway on a flight from Chase Dionio, the recently crowned Wave League MVP, and the decisive four-minute race was on.
Jover finished with a high of 17 points while Dionio, a transfer from northern California, added 15. The guard trio of Jover, Dionio and Renee combined seven interceptions.
Fults scored seven points and picked up 22 rebounds to help the Sailors overcome fouling issues at starting four-year-old Willa Rath.
Guard Tia Barefield scored and post Shaylynn DeYager, both in sophomores, scored 14 and 13 points respectively for Rancho Christian, an independent team who made the final for the first time. DeYager also took 14 rebounds while Jirassevijinda added 10 points.
“It’s more of a testament to how we’ve been all season,” Rancho Christian coach Conway James said of his team’s fight. “I know we’re all crazy, but at the same time, I think we need it just to show we’re better than that.”