Valley News -

By JP Raineri
Sports Editor 

HS Girls' Basketball: Linfield Christian, Lakeside both win first ever CIF Southern Section titles


Last updated 3/1/2019 at 1:35am

Courtesy photo

The Linfield Christian Lady Lions defeated Montclair 62-44 to win the CIF-SS Division 5AA championship at Colony High School Saturday, Feb. 23.

There must be something in the water at Linfield Christian High School this year when it comes to winning. The attitude around campus from student athletes is one of success and pride and finishing what they started. It all began earlier in the school year with football winning a CIF title, followed by girls' volleyball and now girls' basketball wanted in on the action.

The top-seeded Lady Lions (24-2), who went undefeated to win the Ambassador League crown this year, took on Montclair High School in the CIF-SS Division 5AA final at Colony High School Saturday, Feb. 23, and didn't disappoint. Linfield Christian stuck to their 2-2-1 press that has worked for them all season and kept the Cavaliers from having any success. Senior shooting guard, Sydney Moran, along with Keslyn Henson, combined to hit 13 3-pointers and score 45 of Linfield Christian's 62 points in the Lions' 62-44 victory.

"We've put in too much work to not have this kind of success," Moran said. "There's no way we were going to go home without a ring. This is something we've always believed could happen."

Moran had a career-high seven 3-pointers and a game-high 23 points while Henson's six 3-pointers, 22 points, six assists and two steals were the icing on the cake for a Linfield Christian squad that now gets their chance to shine at the state tournament, which starts this week. For current head coach, Derrick O'Neil, now in his fourth year, he said he continues to be amazed by this group of girls.

"If you ask me, I think it's the arrogance of this class of 2019," O'Neil said. "They have this ride or die mentality inside a culture that demands greatness. They really play for each other out there on the courts and have a sisterhood that defines champions. It has been very special to watch."

Linfield Christian, who turned things around from their 5-win season last year, will take on Grossmont High School in the 2019 CIF State Girls Basketball Championships this week. The Lady Lions have been grouped in the Division IV brackets.

Another familiar local school that has had its share of success through the years are the neighboring Lakeside High School Lancers, along with coach Kianna Williams, who had a front-row seat as the point guard when they fell in the Division 2AA finals in 2014.

Fast forward to this year's squad led by Jazlen Green and Shanon Jordan, who both took early control of their CIF-SS Division 2A girls' basketball final this past Saturday at Colony, defeating Oxford Academy 73-50. The victory gave Lakeside (26-3) its first ever section title.

"I think we were meant to lose back then (2014), because it built up to what we have now," Williams said after the game. "I have that experience of knowing what a loss in the finals is like, so in preparing, we were very focused, not so much on winning, but focusing on the process to win."

Courtesy photo

Lakeside's Lady Lancers defeated Oxford Academy 73-50 to win the CIF-SS Division 2A championships this past Saturday at Colony High School.

The process worked as Lakeside was prepared on both sides of the court, holding Oxford Academy to just 33.3 percent from the field. Green led with 27 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, senior Jolene Armendariz, who played in a state regional game as a freshman, scored 17 points and brought down eight rebounds and Jordan was like a thief in the night, stealing the ball three times with her pesky defensive skills. Green, who will be attending University of California Berkeley in the fall, had 23 first-half points, which held to give Lakeside a 45-23 halftime lead.

"I wanted to get off to a good start and set the tone for the game," Green said.

Lakeside, who also went undefeated (10-0) to win the Ivy League title this season, will take their battle tested skills to the 2019 CIF State Girls Basketball Championships this week where they will take on Troy High School. Follow all the action at

JP Raineri can be reached by email at [email protected]


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