By Damien Alvarado - Student Reporter
The Los Altos Lady Conquerors and Upland Highlanders came into the game with great intensity. It was close for all four quarters, but Los Altos' Madelyn Roel and Emma Magana hit some clutch threes to pull away down the stretch. In the end, Los Altos defeated Upland 54-44, moving onto the second round of playoffs.
It was a game of revenge as the last time these two teams met, Upland came out on top 43-41. Size and strength is what beat the Conquerors in that matchup. Upland senior forward Autumn Lindamood was a force in the paint. Her ability to set big screens and score in the low post is what hurt Los Altos in the previous game
In last night's game, Los Altos senior center Kiara Moreno and junior forward Jenica Hernandez held their own and locked down the paint. The first quarter was wild, as neither team could consistently score. Moreno got the game going after she made a contested layup. With 2:58 to play in the first quarter, Uplands’ senior guard Mina Guevara-Goss showed her dominance as she pulled up for a deep three to put Upland up 10-8.
In the second, Los Altos came to life. Roel got LA going by draining two 3 pointers in a row, increasing their lead to 18-10. After a quarter of back and forth scoring, the Conquerors took off early in the second, but a lapse in defense allowed the Highlanders to creep back in. At halftime, Los Altos led 31-24.
“Well everything is predicated on our defense and our defense showed up in that second quarter to give us that cushion. We then hit big shots, and it’s all about our defense," LA Coach Mark Nakamura said.
Going into the second half the Conquerors started out the quarter with a nice jumper from Danielle Pineda and a deep three from Roel. The Highlanders went on a 6-0 run however with 4:24 left in the third cutting the lead to 36-30. This marked a 3 minute scoring drought for the Conquerors until Magana finished off the quarter with the hot hand giving LA a 41-32 lead going into the fourth.
“It puts momentum on our side, it helps us stay aggressive. It is really good to keep shooting and keep the momentum going,” said Magana.
Tough defense combined with Magana's hot shooting helped the Conquerors triumph over the Highlanders 54-44. Guevara-Goss gave the Conquerors a run for their money finishing with 16 points, but it was Roel who led the way with 19 points and is very happy to move on to the next round with her teammates.
“After tonight we will find out who we play, and our coach will watch film and let us know. Then we will just prepare our defense and offense from there,” said Roel.
Los Altos will move onto the second round of playoffs this Saturday at 7pm against a tough Warren team who defeated St. Paul 52-41.