Los Angeles Preps: Jill Nakaso
March, 2, 2012
By Dan Arritt | ESPNLosAngeles.com
ANAHEIM -- The Southern Section Division 1A girls’ basketball final Friday night between Summit and Huntington Beach came down to the element of surprise.
Summit had no idea just how well the Oilers could shoot from the perimeter. Huntington Beach didn’t expect the SkyHawks’ tallest player to bring the ball up court on the most crucial possession of the game.
Jillian Alleyne, a 6-foot-2 senior forward for top-seeded Summit, put her head down and drove to the rim, drew a foul as she laid the ball in the basket and then sank the free throw with 49 seconds remaining, the key play in the 56-51 victory against third-seeded Huntington Beach at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.
“What was going through my head was, we’ve got to score,” said Alleyne, who signed with Oregon. “I saw that my girl, I was faster than her, so I just used my speed and my length and I got to the basket and got the ‘and one.’ We went up and, from then, we never looked back.”
Huntington Beach, playing in its first section final since 1978, shot its way back into the game after falling behind by nine points in the waning seconds of the third quarter. Jill Nakaso sank a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to six entering the fourth, and Maya Kennedy made back-to-back threes to tie the score, 44-44, with 6:18 left.
That got the attention of Summit coach Latrina Duncan.
“I heard they could shoot the ball, but I didn’t realize they could shoot the ball,” she said.
The Oilers even managed to take a one-point lead when Kennedy made two free throws with 4:04 left, but Adrianna Brodie made three straight baskets for the SkyHawks to push the lead back to three.
Huntington Beach got even once more on a putback by Paola Roa with 1:08 left, but Summit put the ball in Alleyne’s hands and she did the rest, finishing the night with 17 points and 20 rebounds.
Kelsey Minato had 24 points and seven rebounds to lead the Oilers and Kennedy had 14.
"We knew we were going against a giant," said Huntington Beach coach Russell McClurg. "I was hoping to be David tonight and it didn't happen."