YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Harvard-Westlake Knocks Off Rosary

Division III-AA girls' basketball: Wolverines defeat second-seeded Royals, 64-59 to advance to section final.


As the final seconds ticked away, there were tears flowing down the face of Harvard-Westlake High center Chantal Kazay.

They were tears of joy.

Kazay and her teammates were celebrating a 64-59 victory Saturday night over Rosary in a Southern Section Division III-AA girls' basketball semifinal at L.A. Baptist High.

The victory earned the third-seeded Wolverines (25-5) a berth in the division final Friday or Saturday at The Pyramid in Long Beach.

For most of the game, it appeared as if a victory would never happen.

The Wolverines trailed the second-seeded Royals (23-8) most of the game. Rosary led by 12 points with 2:39 remaining in the second quarter before Harvard-Westlake went on an 8-0 run to trail 34-30 at halftime.

It wasn't until Karina Siam sank two free throws with 4:11 remaining that the Wolverines took the lead for the first time, 53-51.

They never trailed again.

Coach Melissa Hearlihy of Harvard-Westlake said the difference was the way her team handled Rosary's full-court press after the early going.

"They were killing us with [the press]," Hearlihy said. "That's how they got up by 10 in the first quarter. But we finally had some kids come back for the ball and we weren't doing that in the first quarter."

The Royals forced eight turnovers in the first quarter and 22 in the game. But the Wolverines handled the pressure more effectively after making a few adjustments.

Rosary was hurt by foul trouble. Two players fouled out and three finished the game with four fouls.

That helped the Wolverines finish off the Royals and reach the division final after falling in the semifinals last season.

The comeback made it even sweeter for Kazay, who played for the Wolverines last season. She finished with a game-high 19 points

"Ever since I was a freshman, I wanted to make it to The Pyramid," said Kazay, who spent two years at Louisville before transferring to Harvard-Westlake.

Kazay has had big games before, but said this was the best performance of her career.

"This one takes the cake," she said. "This game was so much more important than any other game I've played."

It was a special moment as well for Siam, who finished with 11 points. Siam transferred from Alemany with teammate Nyasha Bralock after Hearlihy became coach of the Wolverines.

"It just feels great," Siam said. "It feels right. It's a lot of hard work that's finally paying off."

Rosary lost despite having four players score in double figures.

The Royals were led by Jenise Karcher with 17 points, including 14 in the second half.

Los Angeles Times Articles