Miller 8A girls overrun Bondy to snare third-place trophy
It may be called the third-place game, but to the teams that lost the semifinal contest just minutes before, it might as well be called the “Bounce back” or “Shake It Off” game.
Miller and Bondy Intermediate’s eighth-grade girls A teams were the clubs that lost in the semifinals of the annual postseason tournament Thursday night only to be asked to turn right around, dust themselves off and go after the third-place prize.
The Lady Falcons did the best dusting off, receiving excellent games from the one-two punch of Brenda Torres and Karen Hernandez as the pair guided Miller Intermediate to a 35-28 victory at Queens Intermediate.
“The girls did an outstanding job of hustling all year and they practiced hard,” Miller coach Chris Roque said.
Torres and Hernandez’s contributions were biggest in the second half when Bondy’s offense went from quiet as a mouse for the first half to jet engine-like in the second half.
As the Lady Patriots went from scoring five first-half points to 23 in the second half, Torres and Hernandez responded to the new-found threat by combining for 14 points.
Take a mere eight points off those 14 and Bondy wins the game. Hernandez scored nine of her 13 in the second half, while Torres scored five points to go with three assists.
“Number two (Hernandez), she’s been our backbone to go with a lot of support from the other girls,” Roque said.
It was all Miller in the first half as the team grabbed a 9-1 lead after one period and a 17-5 edge after two.
But with Bondy electing to apply some pressure on the ball, Patriots players like Denise Rodriguez, who scored nine second-half points, Hazar Baba tacking on six second-half points and Emma Carro securing four second-half points for 19 of the 23 points, trouble could have been brewing.
But thanks to the work of Hernandez and Torres plus that of Savannah Lopez (6 points), the closest the Lady Patriots could get was seven points.
In lickity-split fashion, Bondy surpassed its entire first-half output as Rodriguez scored the team’s first five points to help create the initial seven-point deficit.
But that’s when the Lady Falcons, with the help of their own pressure defense, received two buckets from Hernandez and one from Torres. And just like that, the lead had grown to 25-12.
Bondy got the deficit to seven points twice in the fourth period, before Miller ramped up the offense one more time to create a new 13-point lead.
Also aiding Miller’s cause was a pretty strong effort at the free-throw line. The Lady Falcons outscored Bondy 9-2 at the foul stripe thanks to Miller sinking 9-of-14, while the Lady Patriots converted just 2-of-10. Miller canned four of its last five foul shots for a sizzling 80 percent.
TOURNEY NOTES: Thompson Intermediate, which is having its strongest basketball season in the history of the school, captured the tournament championship with a 59-52 win over Beverly Hills. In the semifinals Thursday, Bondy fell to Thompson and Miller lost to Beverly Hills.