Louisville rallies to beat Lakewood in CIF-SS Division 2A girls basketball final

ONTARIO — Louisville seniors Taylor Westbrook and Miye Kodama already had experience in a CIF Southern Section final.

They were part of a squad that won the CIF-SS Division 2A girls basketball title in their freshman season.

Westbrook and Kodama helped the Royals regroup from a shaky start Saturday to earn a 64-45 victory over Lakewood In the Division 2A final at Colony High School.

Louisville trailed by seven points in the final minute of the second quarter, but it outscored Lakewood by a 39-15 margin after halftime.

Louisville (28-3) extended its win streak to 16 games.

Lakewood (27-6) was paced by Cristina Jones’ 18 points.

Westbrook also scored 18 points and Louisville sophomore Khail Sowell-Mitchel added 17 points.

Nyemah King had 14 points for Lakewood. She banked home a 3-pointer to give the Lancers a 33-25 advantage 2:10 into the third quarter.

Things turned to Louisville’s favor very quickly. The Royals scored 13 consecutive points and closed the quarter with an 18-3 run.

The points kept adding up for Louisville. Jones had a reverse layup for Lakewood to cut the Louisville lead to 49-40, but VanLoker hit a layup and a side jump shot with 3:20 remaining.

Those plays sealed Louisville’s victory.

“They (Louisville) started making shots and our shots weren’t falling,” Lakewood coach Eric Oswell said. “I saw our body language change. We needed to focus on what we could control.

“I loved our energy and we left everything out on the court.”

Both teams qualified for the CIF state playoffs. The regional pairings will be announced Sunday.

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“We struggled in the first half, but we did a great job defensively in the second half,” Louisville coach Monica Hernandez said. “Taylor and Mia came in with a championship, and they will go out with a championship.”

Hernandez said Westbrook scored 22 points as a freshman three years ago in the Division 5 final.

Louisville couldn’t get past the quarterfinal round the last two seasons. Westbrook and Kodama got some new help this season from sophomore Sowell-Mitchel, who transferred from Alemany.

“She fit right in and things just clicked,” Westbrook said. “The last two years we couldn’t get over the hump.”

Sowell-Mitchel was 8 of 15 from the field and scored 17 points. Eva VanLokeren contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds in the Royals’ balanced offense.

“I learned the chemistry of everybody,” Sowell-Mitchell said. “I like the environment and how we all came together.”

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