Danielle Morgan had a knee that was so battered that the Lompoc High girls basketball star – and lone senior – almost didn’t play in her final regular season game of the season.
But Morgan told her head coach and mother Claudia Terrones “Don’t sit me – no matter how much pain I’m in.”
Morgan responded with 22 points on a bandaged right knee and led her team to the 61-41 rout of Morro Bay at Bryan Ayer Court. The four-year varsity letter winner Morgan rode a wave of emotions before and after the game.
“I’m a very emotional person. Right before the game, I just cried. Just being able to play four years here at this high school is just phenomenal – and it was under my mom. I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve had,” Morgan said.
Morgan helped energize the transition attack with her shooting and willingness to attack the net. But she wasn’t the only one who played at a fast pace.
Mya Mendoza put the run in Terrones’ “run-and-gun” offense – forcing steals, accelerating to the hoop and then finishing with the layups. Mendoza finished with 17 points including six on fast break opportunities. She additionally became the passer during transition attacks.
“I wanted to be able to provide for my team and contribute to them,” the freshman Mendoza said. “Coach Terrones has helped me a lot with running it (this offense). I love to be aggressive and I love running the fast break. And I love to get all the steals.”
Lompoc (14-9, 9-4 in the Los Padres League) started out fast by holding the Pirates to two first quarter points. Morro Bay, however, started to ignite its shooting and offense by cutting a 20-2 lead and turned it to a 22-16 deficit. The Braves finished the second quarter by scoring the last four points.
The Braves turned back to Morgan and Mendoza to spearhead the fast paced play, while the likes of Ketera Mangino, Kayla Taylor and Bella Robles helped provide the inside play for LHS.
Terrones celebrated the win by enjoying cake with her daughter and the rest of the Braves – as the dessert was provided to honor Morgan’s four years of hard work in the blue and white.
Terrones herself admitted that she was hesitant about allowing her lone senior to play, as the original intent was to rest her for the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know if she was going to play. Her knee has been bothering her and we were going to try to rest her,” Terrones said. “But this was a good team (Morro Bay) and they don’t back down. We had to find a way to play her. That was pretty amazing for her.”
Alyssa Grossi added eight points for the Braves. Taylor finished with six. Robles had four. Lompoc closes the regular season at Santa Ynez on Thursday.
Terrones was equally in awe of Mendoza and the way she energized the Braves’ offense.
“Man I’m telling you, I’m really excited about her and the future of this team,” Terrones said. “We only lose Danielle.”
In the end, it was a night of respect for Morgan – including from Mendoza.
“She’s really, really good. And I’m happy, as a freshman, to be playing with her,” Mendoza said. “We both have the same playing style and we were able to push the ball fast.”
Lompoc 64, Morro Bay 55
The Braves continued to establish momentum for the CIF Southern Section playoffs after edging the Pirates on the road.
Jordan Tyler finished with 16 points Andrew Villa finished with 13. Jeffrey Ray pitched in nine points while Ryan Morgan added eight.
Cabrillo 77, Orcutt Academy 31
Cabrillo is now one win away from completing its third straight 14-0 LPL mark, after dismantling the Spartans on the road.
LeAndrew Knight and Austin Olsen both led the way with 17 points. Head coach C.J. Simmons said CHS plans to honor Knight’s accomplishments on senior night this Thursday. The four-year varsity letterman has 1,755 career points, Simmons said.
Lompoc 4, Morro Bay 0
The Braves (14-5-3, 12-1-0) blanked the Pirates behind another strong outing from Martin Melero and clinched the Los Padres League championship.
Melero – who scored the last two goals for the Braves last Friday in the comeback win over Orcutt Academy 3-2 – scored twice against the Pirates. Eli Zuniga and Alex Gonzalez also scored for the now 14-5-3 Braves, who are also 12-1 in the LPL.
Lompoc 6, Morro Bay 2
Ayziah Simmons had the hat trick with three goals to help lead the Braves to the four-goal win over Morro Bay.
Natalie Ochoa, Bri Gaona and Elicia Tinoco also got goals for LHS. Lompoc secured second place in the Los Padres League and will face LPL champ Santa Ynez on the road on Thursday.