For three quarters, Cabrillo High girls basketball flustered Calabasas Viewpoint with a relentless defense that only surrendered a combined eight points.
And that defensive display plus a strong reserve performance from senior Amani Childres lifted the Conquistadores to the second round of the CIF Southern Section 3AA playoffs, as CHS cruised to the 57-18 rout on Thursday at home.
Head coach Jared McCune called this victory an example of his players practicing what the coaches preach to them during practices.
“This is exactly what we preach all year long: Team defense and getting after it. The level of energy tonight was incredible,” McCune said. “Our girls just came out and we told them we wanted to take care of the high post. Our girls did exactly what they were told to do.”
Valerie Monzon scored the first two baskets of the game from the white stripe. Then, Erin Jenkins engineered the fast break offense with her layup that made it 4-0.
Viewpoint, out of the Gold Coast League, got its first basket near the 4:15 mark that cut the Cabrillo lead to 4-3. But the rout was on from there.
Jenkins would add six more points to her total in the first to extend the lead to 13-3 entering the second quarter. Then, Childres became the top 3-point option for Cabrillo – burying back-to-back 3’s and scoring eight points during the second quarter before finishing with 14 points.
“I love Amani. She’s usually not the one who gets off on the 3-point line during games. But she’s been playing a lot more confident and gave us a great spark,” McCune said.
Childres has embraced her role as a reserve and spark igniter when called upon from the bench.
“As a senior, it kind of sucks to come off the bench after the sophomores, but I’ve learned my place and I’ve learned that I have to come in and do all that I can show to make my coaches proud,” Childres said.
She added before the playoff game, she found extra time to perfect her long range touch.
“I came to the gym right after practice and started shooting with Alyssa Stewart – and we were just hitting them,” Childres said.
Childres not only has chosen to go the selfless route for CHS, but has a strong desire to make a CIF push with the team – especially after losing valuable contributors Brittney McCune and Kiki Dial for the season due to knee injuries.
“Losing Brittney and Kiki were a big ‘L’ for us, but it shows how good our team is. All of us have stepped up.”
Jenkins led the way with 17 points and played sparingly in the fourth quarter. She and Childres were the lone Conquistadores in double figures. Alexa McCune added seven points.
McCune was additionally impressed with Denisse Martinez, who emerged as a valuable defender against the nine-player Patriots.
“She came in and got some steals, plus got 10 rebounds today for a guard who is used to playing on the outside. She was attacking the basket,” McCune said. “Both of those girls (Childres and Martinez) gave us great energy today. I’m really proud of them and our team is really coming together.”
With the win, Cabrillo returns home for the second round of the playoffs as it will face San Jacinto – a 73-66 winner over Rancho Cucamonga. Game time is set for 5 p.m. on Saturday.