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Estancia finds a way

Eagles have three regulars with flu, but escape with first-round win over CdM.

February 17, 2011|By Matt Szabo,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

COSTA MESA — The Estancia High girls' basketball team made many big plays in the second half Thursday night.

Two of the biggest were a three-pointer by a sick senior who missed her previous five three-pointers, and a lefty floater by another senior who is right-handed.

That resourcefulness might sum up the Eagles' season in a nutshell. In crunch time, they have found the way to get it done.

They came through again when it mattered most on their home court, taking a scrappy 44-38 win over district rival Corona del Mar in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV-A playoffs.

Estancia Co-Coach Xavier Castellano said senior point guard Yesenia Maldonado, senior guard Jenny Boldizar and key reserve Celia Duran, a freshman, all had the flu. By the end of the night, all made plays to leave the Sea Kings feeling sick.


No. 12-seeded Estancia will play at No. 5 Duarte in the second round Saturday night. Duarte beat El Segundo, 64-41, in another first-round game.

It meant a lot for the Eagles seniors to win their first playoff game in their time in the program. It also meant a lot for the Eagles (21-6) to beat CdM (9-18); the Sea Kings had beat Estancia five straight times over the last three years.

"We have a list of goals," said Castellano, whose Eagles won their first playoff game since 2003. "Every year I ask the girls what their goal is. Of course our goal was to win league. Another goal was to win a playoff game. Another goal, because we always play CdM every year, was to get CdM this year."

He watched the Eagles accomplish the second and third goals on the same night, winning their 13th straight game.

Boldizar made the first big play, nailing a three-pointer from the corner on a pass from Maldonado to end the third quarter. It gave Estancia a 35-27 lead and some breathing room headed into the fourth quarter.

Senior guard Brenda Soto made the second one. Her floater in the lane was her only basket of the game, but gave Estancia a 42-38 advantage with a minute to go.

"[Estancia Co-Coach Judd] Fryslie was always telling me to go to the basket," Soto said. "They focus on most of the main players, so they leave me and [Vanessa] Stafford wide open."

The Eagles needed everyone to step up, especially after senior Kassie Stratton fouled out with 3:05 left in the game. Stratton had team-highs of 16 points and seven rebounds to go with her four steals.

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