ANAHEIM -- In the words of Lynwood girls’ basketball coach Ellis Barfield, the Lady Knights weren’t very good at the free-throw line this season.
It was difficult to tell Friday afternoon.
Lynwood made 11 of 14 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter of the Southern Section Division 2AA final against J.W. North, allowing the Lady Knights to hold on for a 66-55 victory at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.
“We put a lot of time and effort on those free throws,” Barfield said. “It paid off.”
It didn’t appear the game would come down to free throws earlier in the half.
The fifth-seeded Lady Knights led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter before the third-seeded Huskies made their second run of the game. North, which led, 14-7, early on, cut the deficit to five on a 3-pointer by Akilah Martin with 3:30 left in the game, and Kamille Diaz sank another 3-pointer five seconds later to trim Lynwood’s lead to two.
“Our heads weren’t in there in the fourth quarter,” said Lynwood sophomore guard Priscilla Lopez. “I guess we thought we won the game already.”
Once they reached the free-throw line, however, they seemed to locate their focus again.
Jazmine Johnson sank two free throws with 3:01 remaining to push the lead back to four. Alize Lofton then made two to push it to six and Amber Blockmon sank two more to stretch the lead to 59-51 with 1:54 left. That seemed to deflate the Huskies for good.
“The fight came out of us,” said North coach Leonard De Coud, who took over this season and increased the team’s win total from four to 27.
Lopez finished with 14 points to lead the Lady Knights, Blockman had 13 points and nine rebounds and Shahana Zeigler contributed 12 points and seven rebounds.
Priscilla Brooks scored 18 points for North before fouling out with 2:52 remaining and Lynwood leading by four.