LA North & LA South: St. Joseph finds confidence zone against Windward

LONG BEACH -- St. Joseph’s Alyson Beebe scored 11 points and had 16 rebounds in her team’s 54-41 win over Windward in the championship game of the Southern Section girls Division 4A playoffs, but she was afraid to use the word comfortable to describe how her team played.

For St. Joseph of Santa Maria, it was the team’s second championship in a row. For coach Ed Torres, it was his sixth: four with the girls and two with the boys.

“There’s no better feeling to win a CIF championship,” Torres said. “It’s a memory you’ll never forget. I’m so happy for this team. It’s a great feeling.”

St. Joseph opened the game by taking a 21-8 first-quarter lead. Windward closed the gap to six at different points in the game, but St. Joseph always found a way to build its lead back into double digits.

Beebe said she was never comfortable with any of the leads in the game. But the leads did give her and her teammates’ confidence.

“We maintained that lead and played pretty good-darned defense,” Torres said. “I didn’t want to mess up and get in the way. We have a talented team and they played well together.”

Kelsi English and Heather Madrigal each scored 12 points to lead St. Joseph. Analise Riezebos scored five points and had eight rebounds.

Windward’s freshman guard Courtney Jaco led all scorers with 15 points. Teammate Imani Stafford scored nine points and had 17 rebounds.