Valley Christian Academy had two consistent scorers Thursday night. Los Angeles Price had one.
Thus, the Lions advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Diviison 5A Playoffs.
Even with four players, Price kept coming at VCA, but freshman Lindsay Mikkelson scored 19 points, Grace Cosa put in 13 and the Lions staved off the Knights for a 42-28 first-round win at Valley Christian Academy.
VCA (13-6) withstood a game high 20 points by Price's Kazi Fletcher. The Knights, who suited up just five players and were down to four after Kai Dudley fouled out at the 6:46 mark of the third quarter, finished 5-8.
Besides her scoring, Fletcher, the tallest and quickest player on the floor, blocked a lot of shots and used her long arms to steal a lot of passes. She shot in some tough luck. Several of her 3-point tries went in-and-out.
"She was hard to get around," said Mikkelson. She said the Knights in general, and Fletcher in particular, were "very athletic."
For all that, the Lions prevailed and will play the Crossroads Christian-Los Angeles Bishop Conaty-Loretto winner in the second round.
If the Lions play Crossroads, the game will be in Corona. If the Lions face Bishop Conaty-Loretto, a coin flip will determine the site. Either way, tipoff is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday night.
The Lions, after out-scoring the Knights 14-2 in the second quarter, looked safe with a 23-6 halftime lead Thursday night.
Turned out, even with Price down to four players, they were not.
Short-handed, Price continued a 9-0 run to start the second half. Fletcher scored at the 4:43 mark of the fourth quarter to slice the margin to 34-26, but Mikkelson helped the Lions stay ahead by popping in six points the last 4:24.
Mikkelson consistently worked her way open then knocked down eight-to-10 footers from the right side.
"I had been making that shot most of the year," she said.
"My shot went off for awhile, but now it's back on again."
Until the Price comeback ran out of steam the last several minutes of the fourth quarter, the Knights often played as though they were the ones with the five-on-four advantage.
"We did not play a smart game," said VCA coach Randy Stanford after he chatted briefly with Price's players and coaches, complimenting them on their effort.
"There was no quit in those kids, even with just four players. We did not make smart passes. Lindsay played a good game, Grace played pretty good inside," and that was enough for the Lions to win.
Fletcher looked utterly spent as the last two minutes wound down. She had enough to put in a long two-pointer with 6.5 seconds left for the last points of the game.
No one made a 3-point shot Thursday night.
When the Knights made their second-half runs at the Lions, they were consistently the quicker ones to the rebounds and they consistently had the quicker hands on defense.
VCA often did not take advantage of having the extra defender, futilely trying to trap with three defenders in the Price backcourt. On offense, the Lions often threw long passes that were intercepted or tried in vain to dribble past Fletcher or get a bounce pass past Fletcher in the lane.
For all that, "We played well enough to win, I guess," said Stanford.
Los Angeles Brentwood School 67, Lompoc 44
The Braves' season came to an end in their opening round game of the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs.
Mya Mendoza led LHS with 18 points.
Lompoc ends the season 12-13 overall.
Oak Park 61, Santa Ynez 52
OAK PARK — The Pirates' season ended with a road loss in Division 4AA.
Santa Ynez finished third in the Channel League. They finished 14-13 overall and went 7-3 in Channel League play.
Grace Padilla led Santa Ynez with 14 points and Lita Wright added 13. Malia Loos added 12. The Pirates sank 10 3-pointers as team, with Loos knocking down four and Wright sinking three.
Padilla had a double-double, grabbing 17 rebounds.