Who would have believed that this once down-trodden program who won only one game in the 2010-2011 season rise to the very top of the Marine League considering the previous decades-long dominance of CIF-Los Angeles City Section power Narbonne of Harbor City along with some league title success of their rival Carson?
Well, this 2022-2023 edition of Lady Pirates' hoops definitely believed, and they were determined to make it a reality.
This past Friday was the culmination of those beliefs emphatically sealed with a convincing 61-19 victory over visiting Gardena to not only capture the outright Marine League championship for the first time in 37 years, but to also finish an unbeaten, undeterred, and undisputed 10-0 run through the league for San Pedro and fourth-year girls basketball coach Kevin Simpson.
For the first quarter at least, Gardena made things a little interesting, taking an early 5-2 lead before San Pedro (17-8 overall) stormed back to take a 12-7 lead at quarter's end. Once the second quarter took off, San Pedro junior forward Shaila Coleman and sophomore forward Maia Wooldridge combined to take over.
Coleman and Wooldridge combined to score 17 points in a 21-2 surge by the Pirates to turn what was the makings of a potential close encounter, into a breakthrough rout on senior night, storming to a 33-9 halftime lead. The advantage grew even larger when San Pedro scored the first 10 points of the third quarter before the Panthers (5-14, 2-8) finally scored to end what was a 31-2 scoring burst.
Defensively, the Pirates were stingy and staunch, forcing a mind-blowing 32 turnovers with a combination of tough half-court pressure and a relentless full-court trap.
Despite some shortcomings from the free-throw line, San Pedro still had some balanced scoring paced by Coleman's game-high 24 points. Wooldridge produced 14 points and provided great interior defense blocking five shots. Two-time returning All-City junior guard Noelani Raigans was limited to nine points (she scored 28 in the first meeting against Gardena), but still played brilliantly with seven assists and four steals. Also providing great hustle was senior power forward Aleisha Fizer who scored 8 for the Lady Pirates.
CIF-LACS playoff pairings will be announced later today, and it seems like San Pedro could get a pretty favorable draw in Division 2, reaching the semifinals last season.