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In the End, Chaminade Just Has Too Much for Nordhoff, 57-33

February 16, 2001|STEVE GALLUZZO

For the first three quarters of its playoff opener, the Chaminade High girls' basketball team seemed content doing only enough to win.

But in the final eight minutes, the Eagles looked as if they wouldn't be satisfied winning by 50, running Nordhoff out of the gym en route to a 57-33 victory in the first round of the Southern Section Division III-AA playoffs Thursday night in West Hills.

Sixth-seeded Chaminade (19-5) broke the game open with a 14-2 run to start the fourth quarter. Erene Kleoni hit a three-point shot from the top of the lane on the Eagles' first possession, then converted a layup on a pass from Christina Zdenek.

Elizabeth Trent scored the Eagles' next 10 points, ending Nordhoff's hopes of advancing.

Chaminade outscored the Rangers, 20-4, in the fourth quarter.

"We knew we could have played a better first half, but we weren't panicking," said Trent, who finished with 17 points. "We were still ahead by eight points, and we knew if we played like we were capable in the second, we'd be all right."

Zdenek, a sophomore guard, finished with 17 points, seven steals and six assists. Center Amy Bissinger had 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Kleoni had eight points.

Chaminade made 21 of 54 shots (38%).

"I knew a little bit about Nordhoff because we saw them in the Fillmore tournament earlier in the year," Chaminade Coach Kelly Dimuro said. "We knew they had two really good players, so we pressed them at the start of the second half and got some easy baskets off turnovers. Then we dropped into a 2-3 zone and it worked."

Chaminade never trailed, but in the early going it seemed neither team would score.

The Eagles missed their first six shots, and Nordhoff (12-14) missed its first four.

Zdenek broke the ice with an eight-foot bank shot midway through the first quarter, and that ignited an 8-0 run.

Lindsey Mezori led the unseeded Rangers with 10 points, and Alison Bennett and Mindy Roper each added eight.

Nordhoff cut its deficit to 34-29 on Bennett's turnaround jumper with 1:45 left in the third quarter, but Zdenek stole an inbounds pass and scored a layup with six seconds left to extend the Eagles' lead to 37-29.

"We played even with them in the third quarter, then in the fourth our outside shots started falling," Dimuro said. "We play in a very tough league, and that definitely helps us when the playoffs roll around."

Chaminade plays San Dimas in the second round Saturday night at a site to be determined.

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