The Calvary Chapel girls basketball team knows what it means to be the underdog.
After losing playoff games as the No. 4 seed each of the past two seasons, the top-seeded Lions aren’t afraid of the new target on their back.
“We’ve lost to Lincoln County the first two rounds of the playoffs the last two years,” Calvary Chapel coach Kelli Miller said. “When you’re No. 1 everybody expects you to win. When you’re No. 4 no one expects you to win. They wanted it so bad in the locker room after losing it two years in a row. They were determined not to lose today.”
In the first half Friday, the Lions proved it.
Calvary Chapel soared past Agassi Prep 60-45 in the semifinals of the Division III Southern Region tournament at Sunrise Mountain.
The Lions will face Lincoln County in the championship game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Sunrise Mountain.
Chloe Hammond led Calvary Chapel’s charge with 19 points. The freshman was 8-for-10 from the field.
“I saw her play last year, and I knew what she was capable of,” Miller said. “But, really, she’s capable of so much more ... she can score 20 points at any time.”
The Lions (23-3) went on a 25-2 run from near the end of the first quarter to claim a 35-13 advantage at the break.
Hammond had two 3-pointers during the stretch.
“We started out slow in the first quarter,” said Miller, whose squad extended its winning streak to 14 games. “The run was huge. We started shooting. We had a lot of kids sick. They dropped some, got their confidence up and they were fine.”
Calvary Chapel’s pressing zone defense helped to force 13 first-half turnovers as Agassi Prep struggled to find open looks from the perimeter.
Lianne Reyes added 15 points for Calvary Chapel, and teammate Phallen Nelson scored 12 points.
Javoulaee Green supplied 14 points and nine rebounds for the Stars, who played in the program’s first playoff game. Azaria Conway-Wilson and London Ward had nine points apiece for Agassi Prep.
Lincoln County 33, Needles 20 — In the other semifinal, Kourtney Gloeckner had 15 points, and the Lynx held the Mustangs scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Lincoln County (16-11), which shot 6-for-25 in the first half, built on a 20-9 halftime lead in the third quarter with an 11-4 run.
The Mustangs (18-8) committed 13 first-half turnovers. Needles went 0-for-17 from the field in the final quarter.
Jaycee Wadsworth added eight points and six rebounds for Lincoln County.
Kaila Hills paced Needles with eight points and 12 rebounds.