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Simi Valley Feasts on Turnovers

Girls' basketball: Pioneers get 47 points on 30 Santa Monica miscues in 69-48 victory.


SIMI VALLEY — If only the girls on the Simi Valley High basketball team could dunk.

During Saturday night's 69-48 drubbing of Santa Monica in the first round of the Southern Section Division I-AA playoffs at Simi Valley High, the Pioneers would have had plenty of opportunities.

Simi Valley (25-2) used a menacing defense throughout the game, forcing 30 Viking turnovers and turned them into 47 points, 30 as a result of uncontested layups.

"If I could [dunk], it would have been the night to do it," Pioneer forward Tawnee Cooper said. "It would be an awesome feeling but I'm not quite at that stage yet."

Instead, Cooper will have to settle for her 20-point, 16-rebound and seven-steal performance.

Coach Dave Murphy began the game with his team in a full-court pressure defense and in the first 2 minutes 20 seconds, Simi Valley had five steals on five consecutive Viking possessions and forged a 6-0 lead. Ten of Cooper's points came in the opening quarter.

The terror continued in the second quarter for the Vikings (10-8) as Simi Valley did not let up the pressure and forced nine more turnovers while going on a 16-3 run to begin the quarter and went into halftime ahead, 37-14.

"We were our own demise," Santa Monica Coach Jualeah Woods said of her team's sloppy ballhandling.

Even in the second half, after Murphy called off the press, the Pioneers used their quickness to create turnovers and fast-break opportunities.

During a one-minute span midway through the third quarter, they had four steals, leading to two Cooper layups sandwiched between two by Christina Mosesso.

"Our intensity was good tonight," Murphy said. "Defensively we played tough."

But Murphy said he was not pleased with the team's overall performance.

"We just didn't play real well overall," he said. "I think the week off had an effect on us."

But it sure didn't seem that way on the court.

Mosesso had 13 points and Jamie Griffin added 12.

Two free throws by Shannon Malia gave Simi Valley a 67-34 lead with 4:18 left in the game. The Vikings went on a 14-2 run after Murphy cleared his bench.

Laren Kernachan scored 18 points for the Vikings and Yimei Wong added 10.

Simi Valley will face Long Beach Poly on Wednesday at a site to be determined.

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