After falling in overtime of the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA title game, the Cabrillo girls basketball team is now on to more history.
The Conquistadores, who played in their first ever CIF-SS divisional championship game Saturday in Ontario, will play in the state tournament for the first time Wednesday at home.
Cabrillo hosts Bakersfield Golden Valley at 7 p.m. in the opening game of the SoCal Regional Div. III playoffs. Cabrillo is the No. 3 seed in the region. Golden Valley is No. 14.
The Bulldogs are 26-7 overall and Reedley Immanuel in the championship game of the CIF Central Section Div. 3 title game.
The Conqs, meanwhile, are coming off a wrenching loss to Warren in the title game of the CIF-SS playoffs.
A Frances Potts basket from the seat of her pants that counted. Too much Kaeani Berry down the stretch. It all helped add up to a 47-42 overtime loss to Downey Warren Saturday at Colony High School.
Berry, a 6-0 senior made the big plays late, finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Cabrillo is now 26-3. Warren is 20-10.
Warren earned its first divisional girls basketball title in school history. The Conquistadores were going after their first one.
"It will be tough, coming off this loss but we'll have the girls ready for the state tournament," said Cabrillo coach Jared McCune.
Cabrillo would have won in regulation had it not been for a miracle Potts basket.
With the ball, Potts fell to the floor. She put a shot up as the first half ran out, the shot went in and the officials, after conferring briefly, ruled that Potts had not traveled and the shot was good.
"Never seen one of those before," said McCune. "Up North, they never allow that kind of shot."
"With our luck, yes I thought the shot would count," said Warren coach Rachel Palmer.
"I've never seen her make that exact shot before, but she's made 3-pointers from beyond the mid-court line, scoring after dribbling between her legs."
Cabrillo lost a lead it had held most of the time in regulation, but it was the team that forced an unlikely overtime.
Berry made 12 of her 17 foul shots, and she made four to put the Bears up 39-35 with 23.5 seconds left in regulation.
However, Erin Jenkins made a layup for Cabrillo with 8.8 seconds left, then the Conqs forced a turnover. Jesse Jenkins scored to tie it at 39-all as regulation time expired.
As they did on the Potts wonder shot, the officials conferred a bit after the Jesse Jenkins basket. Then they ruled it counted.
"I thought we still had a chance when we were down four with 18 seconds left," said Erin Jenkins. "It's never over until it's over."
Cabrillo's season scoring leader had a team high 13 points and 10 rebounds on her birthday, but she fouled out early in overtime, and without her, the Conqs didn't make a basket in overtime.
Warren won the game at the foul line, going 20 for 30 on free throws to Cabrillo's 7-for-15.
Alyssa Stewart finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for Cabrillo. Potts scored 12 for Warren, and Brittney Curd had eight.
After Warren was 6-for-39 from the floor against Cabrillo's 3-2 zone the first three quarters, Curd helped jumpstart the Bears when she nailed a 3-pointer for the first points of the fourth.
"That was a big-time shot," said Berry. "They did a good job against me."
Palmer said, "Brittney's hit shots like that before to help us get to overtime."
Jenkins said, "Their defense was good, but we stayed with them."
Cabrillo committed 27 turnovers against the Warren zone. The Bears had 20 turnovers.
"You like to leave it all out there on the floor, and I don't think we played our best game," said McCune.
Still, the Conqs made it to the final despite losing Jared's daughter Britney McCune, an all-around team leader, to an injury early in the season and then losing defensive stalwart Kiki Dial to an injury later in the campaign.
"The girls could have given up on CIF after losing players like that," said McCune.
"They didn't. I'm very proud of them."
The winner of Wednesday's state playoff game will play the winner of the Saugus-Sunny Hills game. Cabrillo defeated Sunny Hills in the CIF-SS Div. 3AA semifinals.