#10 Clara McDonald led Bishop Diego Offensively in its first round game. | Credit: Victor Bryant

Stifling fourth quarter defense broke open a close game as the Bishop Diego girls’ basketball team defeated visiting La Reina 45-33 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 3A playoffs on Friday.

The two teams went into the fourth quarter tied at 31-31, but the Cardinals dug in defensively and outscored the Regents 14-2 in the final period.

“We told everybody it was going to be a defensive effort and we challenged them to not go for so  many steals,” said Bishop Diego coach Jeff Burich. “We just said ‘be more disciplined’ because as soon as you go for that steal you are helping them make a decision.”

Clara McDonald was key to Bishop Diego’s late-game surge as she poured in 12 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter. According to Burich her fastbreak layup that gave Bishop Diego a 33-31 lead with 6:15 remaining in the fourth quarter was a turning point in the game.

“That’s her game so I was a little nervous in the first three quarters when she wasn’t getting those,” said Burich of McDonald’s ability to score in transition. “When she made that one basket to give us a 33-31 lead I was like ‘that’s the Clara play that we’ve had all season long. I think we’re good now.’”

The Cardinals lost their matchup with La Reina during the regular season, 42-39, and were eager to avenge that defeat with the season on the line.

“The coaches and I agreed that it was our worst game played all season long,” Burich said. “We missed layups. We shot 0-for-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and we still only lost by three. We were happy to see them when the playoffs rolled around.”

In addition to 18 points, McDonald pulled down a team-high 9 rebounds. Sonia Mancuso and Annie McDonald chipped in ten and eight points respectively. 

The Cardinals will face the winner of Artesia and Heritage in the second round on Tuesday.

Boys Basketball

Bishop Diego 45    Quartz Hill 38

The Cardinals survived and advanced past a gritty Quartz Hill team. Bryan Trejo led the way with a team-high 19 points. Bishop Diego will travel to Burroughs of Burbank for a CIF-SS Division 3A second round game on Tuesday.


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