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When Pressed, Troy Gets Routed by Lynwood, 78-47


After 18 consecutive victories and its first Southern Section title, Troy finally discovered Thursday what it's like when the shoe is on the other foot. . . . and it's planted squarely in your back.

Lynwood used its ultra-quick defense to build an early lead, then kept up the intensity for a 78-47 victory over visiting Troy in the second round of the Southern California Regional Division I girls' basketball playoffs.

Lynwood (28-2), which won the Southern Section's first Division I-AAA title, was hardly threatened by the section's I-A champion.

And the Knights did it with the same weapon Troy likes to use on its opponents--a full-court pressing defense.

"Lynwood is defense, and defense is Lynwood," said Knight Coach Ellis Barfield. "Our whole game plan is to take it to another level, and so far, we've done that. We played better than we did against Westchester [in the first round]. If we have the same kind of improvement on Saturday, we'll be in good shape."

Lynwood, the second-seeded team in the division, will play top-seeded Harbor City Narbonne, a 56-51 winner over Ventura Buena, at the Great Western Forum on Saturday. Troy finished 28-5.

Freshman Sade Gatewood scored 19 points, and junior Janice Bright scored 18 for Lynwood, which took a 6-0 lead in the first 86 seconds.

Lynwood stretched it to 12-2, with 10 points coming off Troy turnovers, and the margin reached 18-4 after one quarter as Troy committed nine turnovers.

"Half-court trap, man-to-man, very intense--they played an excellent game, a great game," said Troy's Veronica Johns-Richardson, who scored seven points before fouling out in the third quarter of her last game before embarking on a career at Colorado.

The Lynwood defense was devastating in the first half, said Troy junior guard Alicia Komaki, who missed her first six shots but eventually finished with 20 points, making four three-pointers. "Every time we got the ball to the high post, we lost it," she said. "Every time we got it to the wing, we couldn't do anything."

Troy made six of 10 shots in the second quarter, but still lost ground to Lynwood, falling behind, 37-17. Of those 37 points, 19 came off turnovers.

Troy's only rally was brief.

It began attacking Lynwood in the opening moments of the third quarter, and Johns-Richardson dished twice to Komaki, who buried back-to-back three-point baskets, cutting the deficit to 14 points, 37-23--Troy's last hurrah.

Lynwood reeled off a 7-0 run, and a chaotic half ensued.

It came to a head with 26 seconds left in the third quarter. Troy Coach Kevin Kiernan had grown increasingly upset at the three-woman officiating crew from the Los Angeles City Section. Away from the ball, Johns-Richardson and Lynwood junior Audrey Taylor became entangled and fell to the floor and Taylor threw a punch at Johns-Richardson, who held up her hands and walked away.

After lengthy deliberation, double fouls were called. No technical foul was assessed. It was Johns-Richardson's fourth foul. Kiernan expressed his opinion in not-so-subtle terms. Johns-Richardson was called for her fifth foul 24 seconds later, with two seconds on the clock.

"Officiating had nothing to do with the outcome," Kiernan said, "but don't get me wrong--it wasn't a well-officiated game."

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