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Taft Gets Grant on the Run

City Section girls' basketball: Toreadors force Lancers into turnovers and pull away for 79-64 victory.


WOODLAND HILLS — They should have opened the game with a starter's pistol instead of a tip-off.

In a game that better resembled a track meet than a girls' City Championship playoff game, Taft High capitalized on a slew of Grant turnovers in the second quarter to run away with a 79-64 victory Wednesday night at Taft.

No. 4-seeded Taft (22-1) advances to face No. 1-seeded Narbonne, an 80-48 winner over Washington, either Friday or Saturday at site to be determined.

Schquay Brignac scored 29 points and Christina Aguinaga had 28, including six three-pointers for the Toreadors.

Taft used a 12-2 run as part of a 21-point second quarter, burying Grant (18-9) in a game in which the two press-oriented teams combined for 27 turnovers in the first half.

Grant was further hindered by the loss of guard Temma Healey, who twisted an ankle early in the second quarter and did not return. That left the Lancers to shoot it out with the Toreadors, who opened up a 37-26 halftime lead.

"That was our game against their game," Taft Coach Mark Drucker said. "We were going to give up a few points, but we thought we could break down their press and wear them down."

Taft led, 16-15, after the first quarter, in which the two teams played run-and-gun basketball, turning the game into a battle of turnovers.

Taft quickly turned three Grant turnovers in the second quarter into a eight points, capped by Brignac's three-pointer with 5:08 to play to cap the 12-2 run.

It wasn't just the turnovers that hurt the Lancers. Grant struggled with its shooting, hitting just 26% from the floor in the first half and 40% for the game.

Alexis Weatherspoon scored 21 points, but had only eight points and three fouls in the first half.

Krystal Clay scored 23 points, including four three-pointers, but didn't make a field goal in the first half. She also had three fouls at halftime.

Guard Deja Cruz struggled, scoring only five points.

"When [Healy] went out, that really hurt us," Grant Coach Steve Brumwell said. "[Cruz] wasn't stroking it like she usually does. I can't take out [Weatherspoon] or [Clay] out of the game. I have no other shooters."

That allowed Taft to put on its running shoes. Brignac scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Grant cut the lead to six, 41-35, midway through the third quarter before Taft ran away.

"We saw they were getting tired," Aguinaga said. "We stepped up the tempo."

Weatherspoon, a senior who has a track scholarship to USC, single-handedly kept Grant within striking distance in the second half, scoring 15 of her 21 points.

"Usually we're very very aggressive team," Weatherspoon said. "We don't take no for an answer. Mentally, I think we were intimidated. We should have been taking it to the hole instead of shooting from the outside."

Taft will get its biggest challenge of the season against Narbonne, a perennial section power.


* Grant-Westchester boys' basketball game, D16.

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