Contact Form

    News Details

    Yorba Linda girls basketball upsets Canyon in North Hills League to boost playoff bid
    • January 27, 2024

    Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now

    YORBA LINDA — Yorba Linda’s girls basketball team took the court Friday with a few special supporters in the stands for a game critical to its playoff chances.

    The Mustangs rose to the challenge and rallied for a 52-45 victory against No. 23 Canyon in a North Hills League showdown at Yorba Linda High.

    Yorba Linda (13-10, 3-2) assured itself of a winning record for the regular season with the triumph, which will allow Coach Teiko Ikemoto’s team to potentially apply for an at-large bid for the CIF-SS Division 3AA playoffs.

    If the Mustangs had lost, they would have had to sweep No. 6 Esperanza and surging Villa Park next week to finish .500, the requirement for an at-large bid.

    “We needed that one,” Ikemoto said of the victory. “Now, we beat Villa Park and it’s a three-way tie for first … (but) we’ll be one over .500 (no matter what). That’s the main thing.”

    Ikemoto’s daughter Kelsey scored the eventual winning basket with a driving layup in heavy traffic to give Yorba Linda a 47-43 lead with about 45 seconds left. The play punctuated the family theme for the night.

    The parents of Ikemoto’s late husband Klete attended the game and watched the Mustangs recover from a 14-point deficit in the middle of the second quarter. Klete, a strong supporter of his wife and daughters’ basketball aspirations, died from COVID-19 in April 2020.

    “They haven’t been coming out much but they said ‘We’ll come out today’ so it was good’,” Ikemoto said of her in-laws Ken and Dorothy. “It was really nice. I’m glad they were able to make it.”

    Canyon (15-10, 3-2), ranked second in Division 4AA, led 27-20 at halftime as it looked to sweep Yorba Linda in league. But the Mustangs — who don’t feature a senior — surged in the third quarter. They cut down on turnovers and attacked in the key to knot the score 35-35 heading into the fourth.

    Freshman Sanaya Patel sparked Yorba Linda by scoring seven of her 11 points in the third, including a hustling putback to beat the buzzer at the end of the period.

    Earlier in the third, juniors Giana Mejia and Madison Chou sank consecutive 3-pointers to signal the Mustangs’ intentions.

    In the fourth, Yorba Linda answered Mariah Streeter’s fourth 3-pointer with a 5-0 run to take the lead for good. Mejia scored under the basket on a short pass from Chloe Chang while Serina Patel added a three-point play on a left-handed putback to give the Mustangs a 45-40 lead with about 1:20 left.

    Serina Patel, a junior, finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Kelsey Ikemoto, s sophomore, added six points, eight rebounds and five assists.

    “They played their hearts out,” Ikemoto said of her team, which was also supported in the stands by her daughters Katie and Kristi.

    Streeter and Jasmine Prajitno each finished with 12 points for Canyon while Justine Prajitno added eight points and five steals. “The girls are learning to win,” Comanches first-year coach Sara Brown said before the game.

    Related Articles

    High School Sports |

    Orangewood Academy girls basketball rallies past Fairmont Prep to clinch share of league title

    High School Sports |

    JSerra boys basketball upsets No. 1 Mater Dei for historic victory

    High School Sports |

    Albano’s Fab 5: Orange County girls basketball standouts last week, Jan. 24

    High School Sports |

    Nike Extravaganza to feature some of the state’s top boys basketball teams

    High School Sports |

    Fairmont Prep and La Habra boys basketball teams playing like CIF-SS contenders

    ​ Orange County Register