SIMI VALLEY — How close was it?
Much closer than most of Shannon Spielbuehler's shots, that much was certain.
It took some long-range shooting by Spielbuehler of Hart High to put some distance between the Indians and St. Lucy's. Hart finally claimed the championship of the Simi Valley girls' basketball tournament with a 55-49 victory over the Regents in the final Saturday night at Simi Valley High.
Spielbuehler, a junior transfer from Village Christian, scored 12 points--all on three-point shots--including three crucial conversions in the fourth quarter, as the Indians came from behind.
Spielbuehler's first three-pointer of the fourth quarter gave defending tournament champion Hart (9-2) its first lead, 43-42, with 6:14 to play.
Her second gave the Indians a five-point advantage--their biggest of the game to that point--at 48-43 with 4:42 to go. And her third gave Hart its biggest edge, a six-point margin, with four minutes remaining.
The Indians then held off the Regents (6-3). .
"Once I got going, I knew they were going in," Spielbuehler said. Spielbuehler's efforts, along with those of tournament most valuable player Melissa Harrison (24 points), rallied the Indians from a 12-point, second-quarter deficit.
In other tournament games:
Alemany 64, Simi Valley 60--Kate Beckler scored a game-high 30 points and the Indians held off the Pioneers in a third-place game.
Beckler hit a pair of free throws with 1:29 left that turned out to be the decisive points.
The Pioneers (7-5) stayed close with 21 points by Jamie Sturdivant, who returned to the lineup after missing Simi Valley's semifinal loss to Hart because of illness. Elise Metcalf added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Pioneers.
Alemany (7-3) committed seven turnovers in the final quarter, but the Pioneers were unable to capitalize.
Kelli Kobayashi (10 points) hit a final shot in the lane to seal the win for Alemany with three seconds remaining.
Kobayashi also collected four steals and four assists, and Anna Karas added eight points and eight rebounds for the Indians.
Newbury Park 61, Grant 55--Nadine Levsey hit a three-point shot to give the Panthers (5-5) the lead with 5:10 to play. Levsey finished with a team-high 17 points in the fifth-place game.
Grant (10-3) was outscored 14-6 in the final minutes.
The Lancers received 19 points and 12 rebounds from all-tournament Nakeisha Perkins. Grant was hurt on the boards by the absence of standout senior forward Angela Terry, who did not show up for the game.
Canyon 69, Burbank 34--Janette Garcia scored 19 points and Cheryl Grucelski added 15 as the Cowboys (7-8) won the seventh-place game.
Garcia and Grucelski accounted for 20 of Canyon's 25 third-quarter points. Garcia had 12 in the quarter, and Grucelski eight.
Littlerock 57, Camarillo 39--The Lobos (7-5) held a 14-point advantage for most of the second half after a 15-4 run in the second and third quarter in the ninth-place matchup.
Camarillo (4-8) was within four points before Littlerock center Carrie Miller scored 10 of her 14 points in the second quarter.
Pasadena 56, Chaminade 22--Julie Cichon and Adriane Stefansen were the only players who scored for Chaminade in the first half of the 11th-place game.