By Bill Tamburrino
Coach Erin O’Connor’s Ramona High School girls basketball team was eliminated from the CIF Division II playoffs by Bonita Vista High School. The Lady Dawgs traveled to Bonita Vista on Wednesday and lost what their coaches describe as a hard fought 44-31 defensive battle.
The game was close until the final two minutes. The first quarter was a physical defensive battle and Ramona led 6-5 after eight minutes. The second quarter was more of the same as both offenses got off more shots and Bonita Vista took a 16-15 halftime advantage.
The Barons used a full-court press defense for the entire second half, and the major difference in the game was the Barons forced 27 turnovers. Ramona’s defense forced 10 Baron turnovers.
Bonita Vista led 28-26 going into the final period. The Barons scored 6 straight points to take control of the game. The Lady Dawgs fought back and got to within 3 points with less than three minutes to play, but Ramona had to foul the Barons to stop the clock. Bonita Vista converted on its free throw attempts, and the Barons held on for the win and will advance to the quarter final round.
The Barons’ defense stifled the Lady Bulldog offense and held all but one Lady Bulldog to under her season average.
Kim Whelehon led all scorers with 19 points. The senior wing player hit a game high five 3-point goals and played outstanding defense. RaeAnne VanTol was held to 2 points but grabbed a game high 14 rebounds and two steals.
The Baron defense doubled and tripled VanTol on every position after they fell back from their press.
Paige Conroy and Tiana Zuniga, both senior guards, grabbed six boards apiece and had one steal apiece. Zuniga scored 4 points.
Megan Buckley scored 4 points, grabbed three rebounds and played well on defense. Katherine Mauldin came off the bench to grab four rebounds and score 2 points.
O’Connor was upbeat after the game.
“This team was a lot of fun to coach,” the coach said. “They came together as a team and were unselfish. These seniors have been an excellent example. They have worked hard, played well and displayed excellent sportsmanship and leadership.”