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Prep Girls Basketball: Riverside Prep on top again
Silver Knights clinch CVL's top playoff seed for third straight year
VICTORVILLE • The University Prep girls basketball is 10-0 against every team not named Riverside Prep this season, but that same success eludes the Jaguars when they play the Silver Knights.
Riverside Prep’s success against University Prep continued on Friday night, as the Silver Knights beat the Jaguars for the fourth time this season, this time 52-45. Riverside Prep clinched at least a share of the league title and the No. 1 seed in the Cross Valley League for the third year in a row.
Riverside Prep (16-1, 9-0 CVL), which is 33-0 in CVL games over the last three seasons, can clinch the outright title with either one more win or a University Prep (10-4, 6-3 CVL) loss.
“(Ex-coach Ronnie Hillary) taught them a lot of fundamentals and skills, and he even had them in middle school,” first-year Riverside Prep coach Gunder Andreasen said.
All four of the Silver Knights’ wins against the Jaguars have been by fewer than 10 points. The Jags have improved every year in the standings, finishing fourth two years ago, third last year. They’re currently in second place.
“Every time we play them, it’s a mental block,” University Prep coach Josh Penaloza said. “We’re a different team.”
The game got off to a sloppy start with lots turnovers and close to 20 fouls called in the first half. The score was only 6-2 in favor of Riverside Prep with about 21⁄2 minutes to play in the opening quarter, but Riverside Prep pushed that lead to 12-4 by the end of the quarter and never trailed the rest of the game.
“That means a lot to us (to beat University Prep),” Riverside Prep senior Destiny Fernandez said. “Them being our rivals, we just play even harder when we go against them. You can feel that intensity every time we play them.”
Tianni Hill led Riverside Prep with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five steals. Vanessa Keyes also had a double-double, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, and Dez Quintanar came back from a knee injury to score 15 points.
The Silver Knights built their biggest lead of the game at 18-6 with 4:21 to play in the second quarter, and University Prep didn’t reach double figures until there was less than 3 minutes to play in the half.
University Prep trailed 23-14 at halftime and remained in the game with a hot hand from Renee D’Espyne. She scored a season-high 26 points, including 13 in third quarter, and helped the Jaguars stay within eight at 39-31 going into the fourth.
University Prep cut the lead to four on two occasions in the final 41⁄2 minutes but failed to get any closer. The Jaguars finished the game 13-for-29 from the free throw line.
Riverside Prep has dominated the last two regular season only to lose in the first round of the playoffs. Andreasen said the Silver Knights’ first goal this season is to win a league title and the second is to make it past the first round. They are currently ranked 11th in Division 5AA.
RIVERSIDE PREP (52)
Hill 23, Quintanar 15, Keyes 12, Pedrin 2.
UNIVERSITY PREP (45)
D’Espyne 26, Porter 5, Fisher 4, Carbajal 4, Benitez 3, Valles 3.
R. Prep 12 11 16 13 — 52
U. Prep 4 10 17 14 — 45
3-point field goals — Riverside Prep 1 (Hill); University Prep 2 (D’Espyne). Fouled out — Carbajal (U).
C.J. Daft can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (760) 951-6275.