Nip Kingsburg on the Mountain

Posted by Tom Shea, The Tehachapi News on February 25, 2008

With only 5.5 seconds left in the game, Kingsburg had the ball and were set to inbound for one last chance to upset No. 3 seeded Tehachapi in the CIF Division III playoffs.

Lady Warrior Ashley Asoau approached senior captain and leading scorer Jana Smith and told her friend and teammate, “We got this. Let’s do it.”

Had it they did, with the Lady Warriors working a stifling press and creating a wall of bodies that never let the Vikings get the ball past half court. The time expired and Tehachapi escaped with a thrilling 38-37 win and a trip to the section semifinals.

“The game was a battle, it was their guards against our post,” said Asoau. “We just told each other let’s do it, let’s win and we pulled it out. It wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win.”

Donna Crowley put Tehachapi (21-7) in a great position to win the game in the fourth quarter when she almost single-handedly split the Kingsburg (17-10) full-court press and found a trailing Asoau for a bucket with less than three minutes remaining in the contest. The heady play gave the Lady Warriors a 32-30 lead, and the momentum carried over to a Jana Smith fast break lay-up on the next possession to extend the lead to 34-30.

“As individuals we did not play well but when we played together we played well,” said Jana Smith. “The team pulled it off tonight and we get to keep playing.”

A sea-saw lead battle carried throughout the entire game, even in the game’s final minutes when Ashley Asoau connecting on a basket in the paint with 1:26 remaining for a 38-37 lead. The score would prove to be the last one for both teams, with the Lady Warrior defense rising to the occasion to close it out.

“We played hard and we didn’t do some things very well, but we’re happy to get a chance to play another day,” Asoau added.

Jana Smith was the team’s leading scorer with 16 points, followed by Ashley Asoau with 15, Donna Crowley with three, Kristen Baquerizo with two, and Persephonie Devereaux and Scarlett Dunn with one point each. Smith also had 17 rebounds for Tehachapi.

Next up for the Lady Warriors is a match-up with No. 2 seed Yosemite on the road in the section quarterfinals. The Warriors and Badgers last played each other in the 2005 CIF championship, a game that Yosemite won 56-52.