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Explosive Lynwood Wears Down Buena : Division I girls: Knights rally in second half with pressure defense to win going away, 59-38.


Lynwood High players and coaches said they knew it was only a matter of time before their pressure defense wore down the Buena girls' basketball team.

They were correct.

Midway through the third quarter of Thursday's State Southern Regional semifinal, Buena led by a point.

But Lynwood outscored the Bulldogs by 22 the rest of the way to win, 59-38, and advance to the regional final on Saturday.

"We knew Buena was going to come out and play us tough for a couple of quarters," said Knight forward Timicha Kirby, who scored a game-high 25 points. "But we knew our defense would pull us through."

Said Buena Coach Joe Vaughan: "In terms of natural athletic ability, they have much more than us."

It marked the second consecutive year that the Knights (31-1) defeated the Bulldogs (25-3) in the state tournament.

Last season, Lynwood beat them in the regional final by 11 points and went on to win the state championship.

"Right at the end of the third quarter was a turning point," Vaughan said.

"Then I thought we got a little careless with the ball. You have to keep them in a half-court game."

In the first half, that's exactly what Buena did. The Bulldogs' zone defense and inside strength caused problems for Lynwood, as Buena center Michelle Giordano drew foul after foul near the basket.

Giordano, a 6-0 senior who has enjoyed a brilliant career at Buena and has signed with Arizona, scored 10 first-half points, all on free throws. But she scored only five in the second half before fouling out.

"She had a great game, and I wish her all the best at Arizona," Kirby said of Giordano. "But it's team defense that wins championships and that's what we thrive on here at Lynwood."

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