The San Diego Jewish Academy split doubleheader non-league basketball games at host Escondido Charter High School Dec. 18.
The SDJA Lady Lions (4-1) won an exciting OT contest, beating the Escondido Charter Lady White Tigers by the score of 53-46. And the SDJA Lions Boys (5-3) lost a tough one to the E.C. White Tigers (2-4) by the score of 77-65.
SDJA Lady Lions first year Head Coach Christine Rohane had all five starters back from last year's team.
"With these starters and six seniors we hope to win the Citrus West league; also get to the playoffs and win a C.I.F. Division 5 Championship," Rohane said. "My philosophy is about teaching the fundamentals, stressing good techniques, positioning, defense and also stressing the girls to have fun."
The girls' game was a back-and-forth, ebb-and-flow contest.
In the fourth quarter, the Lions' presence down, Katz fouled out and her teammates stepped it up. The Lady Lions led 40-37 with 3.8 seconds left in the game, when E.C.'s Natasha Keyser hit a three-pointer at the buzzer, sending the home crowd into a frenzy and the game into overtime. That's when SDJA's birthday girl Aliya Luther, who only scored 7 points in regulation took over, scoring 10 of her team's 13 OT points. sealing the victory for SDJA 53-46.
"I wasn't going to let my team lose on my birthday," a happy Luther said. "I wanted to win this game and I was frustrated early in the game by sitting down in foul trouble."
The boys' game featured a full court zone press by the Escondido Charter and after SDJA broke the press, E.C. settled into a half-court zone D.
The White Tigers came out growling with an 8-0 run starting the third quarter, upping the score to 51-41. But, SDJA couldn't close the gap and trailed 62-50 going into the last quarter.
One last Lions run closed it to 57-64 in the fourth quarter, but too many missed lay-ups and foul shots by SDJA couldn't put them over the top. E.C. finished strong on a 6-0 run winning 77-65.
"We are a young team, with only two seniors," SDJA head coach Dr. Stephen Shoemaker said. "We will get better as the season progresses. Our turnovers tonight will go down as we get used to playing with each other."