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Barons flirt with CIF hoops win, fall to Ramona Phillip Brents | Sat, Mar 12 2011 06:00 PM

The Bonita Vista High School girls basketball team played solidly through the second half of the regular season. However the Barons but did not play solidly enough to get past their opponent in the opening round of Tuesday’s San Diego Section playoffs, falling 45-41, to the visiting Ramona Bulldogs.

Trailing 12-6 early on, eighth-seeded Bonita Vista — the third-place finisher in Mesa League play this season — got down to playing some very tenacious defense in the second quarter. The result was a well-deserved 19-16 halftime lead.

Jenelle Hudson threw in the first bucket of the second half and the hosts looked to be building on that momentum with a 21-16 lead. But the teams quickly settled into a back-and-forth exchange, with the Bulldogs employing some tenacious defense of their own to creep back into the ballgame.

The Barons (12-13) had a three-point lead heading into the final quarter —30-27 — but ninth-seeded Ramona (14-15) began to capitalize on its height advantage and also to take advantage of BV fouls by sinking key baskets from the free throw line.

The Bulldogs led 31-30 with 6:14 left in the game.

But the scrappy Barons — winners of seven of their last 11 games — wouldn’t go down easy. Sparkplug Nadia Cruz ripped a pass to Hudson off a steal and just as quickly as the host’s lead had evaporated, Bonita Vista was back on top 35-33.

It didn’t last, however.

Ramona went in front, 42-37, with 2:08 to play courtesy of foul shots. Hudson closed the gap to 42-39 with 1:49 remaining and again to 44-41 with 53 seconds left on the clock.

But that counterattack basket never materialized. Instead, Ramona’s Paige Conroy sank a free throw with 20 seconds to play to seal the deal for the final margin of victory.

The Barons got the ball to Hudson in the dying seconds. But her shot was off the mark and, while a BV player grabbed the rebound, a forest of taller Bulldogs quickly engulfed her.

Hudson led the Barons with 18 points while Cruz scored nine points. Also for BV, Nerrissa Periola and Hannah Flippen each collected four points.

Kim Whelehon was Ramona’s ace with 24 points, including three three-point field goals. Conroy had eight points while Raeanne Van Tol had seven points and Tori Sheppard had six points.

The Bulldogs sank four treys in the game.

Playoff notepad
Of the four Metro teams hosting first round games on Tuesday, two emerged victorious. Among the local teams undergoing early elimination were Eastlake (54-46 losers to San Pasqual in Division I) and Bonita Vista (45-41 losers to Ramona in Division II).

Kayla Rivera led Eastlake with 13 points while Taylor Smalley had 10 points. Kelsey Harbin led San Pasqual with 16 points while teammate Lunden Cunningham collected 14 points and Savannah Camp grabbed 14 rebounds in the victory.

In Sweetwater’s 75-58 loss at Torrey Pines in a Division I first round game, Jessica Bautista poured in a game-high 23 points while teammate Jonalynn Fuertes had 16 points.

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