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Ontario Christian women’s basketball team defeats Moreno Valley to win Knight Time Classic – Press Enterprise

ONTARIO — You would think that as good as Ontario’s Christian women’s basketball team is, the Knights would have no problem winning their own tournament.

Moreno Valley put that to the test Friday night.

But Ontario Christian rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Vikings 70-59 and win the Knight Time Classic for the third straight year. This was also the second year in a row that Ontario Christian defeated Moreno Valley in the championship game.

“We knew it was going to be a battle, but we felt like we were the better team,” Ontario Christian coach Matt Tumambing said. “They (the Vikings) played hard and really showed courage. I’m proud of the way we played because we fought through adversity and ultimately came through.

Despite a third quarter in which she shot just 1 of eight from the field, Ontario Christian first-year star guard Kaleena Smith scored 11 of her game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, to win tournament MVP honors.

Smith scored those 33 points despite a relentless Moreno Valley defense that had several different players guarding Smith, and often two at a time.

“I’ve seen really every defense so far,” Smith said. “I just have to adapt to double teams, splitting them up and opening people up.”

Ontario Christian (13-3) is currently ranked No. 6 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division 1 rankings, but has since defeated No. 3 Mater Dei. Still, the Knights trailed Moreno Valley (16-4, ranked No. 1 in the CIF-SS 2AA division) 49-46 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter before a 16-4 run took their toll. definitely gives the lead. Thereafter, Ontario Christian never led by less than four points. Smith scored seven points and two assists during that run.

“We didn’t execute the game plan,” Moreno Valley coach Larry Wright said when asked what went wrong down the stretch. “We were a little happy with 3-pointers, so it was a long shot, a long rebound. And they were able to get out in transition and open the game up a little bit.”

Senior Amanda Ajobiewe added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Knights. The four tournament games were his first four for the Knights after serving the 30-day absence period following a transfer. Senior Karsen Marshall added 13 points.

Moreno Valley was led by 6-foot freshman center Alaysha Mills, who scored 16 of her team’s 20 points in the second half as the Knights struggled to guard her. Mills shot eight free throws in the fourth quarter, making only four. She also grabbed 11 rebounds.

“She executed the game plan and that got us back in the game, working from the ground up,” Wright said of Mills. “It’s good because once that happens, we can get her out (of the lane) and she can hit the 3 as well.”

The teams were tied after one quarter Friday before the Knights opened a 10-point lead in the second quarter. That’s when the Vikings rallied, taking a five-point lead late in the third quarter (48-43) before Ontario Christian rallied in the fourth quarter.

Bella Medina added 15 points and Niyah Thomas scored 10 for Moreno Valley.

“We don’t have any seniors right now,” Wright said. “They’re growing, they’re learning basketball in general and we work hard in the gym every day.”

California Daily Newspapers

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