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Sunset Girls: Seniors key in Grizzlies’ victory, set up title game rematch

Coming out of a timeout with 39 seconds left in the game, Spring Valley fans rose with a “Let’s go Grizzlies” chant, and one fan had a shirt that read “We’re back.”

Indeed, the Grizzlies are back in the Sunset Region title game.

Spring Valley’s girls basketball team controlled Thursday’s semifinal game from the opening whistle. Essence Booker scored 17 points, and Kayla Harris nearly had a double-double to propel the Grizzlies over Bishop Gorman, 56-44 at Legacy.

The Grizzlies will play Centennial at 4 p.m. Saturday at Legacy in a rematch of last year’s Sunset final.

“Our season didn’t end early, that’s the important thing,” Harris said. “It’s not over yet.”

As they have all year, the Grizzlies (28-2) leaned on their senior stars. Harris had 10 points and eight rebounds, and Booker scored 14 of her points in the first half to help build the lead as the Grizzlies had an advantage of 14 points in the third quarter.

“They definitely went out there and executed,” Spring Valley coach Billy Hemberger said. ‘They played well, that poise, that constant poise.”

And while the seniors keyed the victory, the underclassmen showed the future is bright at Spring Valley as well. Junior Alexus Quaadman had nine points and four rebounds, and freshman Garrison Freeman had 10 points, four boards and three assists. Sophomore Deja McDonald was everywhere in the second half, and collected six rebounds.

It was the third time this year Spring Valley knocked off Gorman (12-17), winning 56-50 on Dec. 12, and 59-45 on Jan. 25.

Bentleigh Hoskins had 18 points to lead the Gaels, and Georgia Ohiaeri had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Spring Valley played in Thursday’s first semifinal game, so it did not know its next opponent until later in the evening. But even before it was decided that it was Centennial (26-3), the No. 2 Grizzlies were not worried about playing the top-ranked Bulldogs.

“I’m not worried about anybody but us,” Hemberger said. “On Saturday, it is Spring Valley, against us. That is only thing we’re worried about. We don’t give a (care) who we’re playing, honestly.”

Centennial 66, Desert Oasis 24 — At Legacy, Justice Ethridge led four double-digit scorers as the Bulldogs rolled over the Diamondbacks in the other semifinal.

Melanie Isbell had 13 points for Centennial, which got 11 points from Eboni Walker and 10 points from Ajanhai Phoumiphat.

Centennial stormed to a 24-6 lead after the first quarter, and led 50-10 at halftime.

The Bulldogs out-scored Desert Oasis only 16-14 in the second half, which was played entirely with a running clock.

Dajaah Lightfoot and Desi-Rae Young each scored seven for the Diamondbacks (21-5), and no one else scored more than three.

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