STORY BY MATT SIMON
Top seed Wilson continued its stellar run through the CIF Southern Section Division 3A girls’ basketball playoffs on Wednesday night by defeating La Quinta 61-31 to advance to the semifinals.
Junior Ashley Hawkins and senior Samiya Terry combined for 33 points to lead the way for the Bruins. Hawkins had 17 points while Terry scored 16.
Going up against La Quinta’s 6-foot-3 junior center Emma Svoboda, Wilson used a tenacious defensive plan to limit her attempts in the paint and force the Blackhawk guards to make shots. Svoboda scored 17 and grabbed 11 rebounds, but the damage was done as the next highest scorer was Chloe Minor scored six points.
Part of containing Svoboda fell on Terry, who played with the center in travel ball leagues and was familiar with her playing style.
“We just had to keep her off the glass,” Terry said. “If we can kept her off the glass, we were good.”
After taking a 24-17 lead at halftime, the Bruins broke the game open when they outscored La Quinta 23-7 in the third quarter to take a 47-24 lead into the fourth quarter.
“This is the way we play,” Wilson coach Erin Carey said. “It’s the way we’ve played all season. We’re a foot on the gas pedal from whistle to whistle. We compete and we’ve been like that every game.”
The biggest surge in play has come from Terry. Her solid play has allowed Hawkins to get easier looks as teams aren’t able to key in on her.
“Samiya has been stepping up,” Hawkins said. “She had the 30-piece game and now she’s hitting some shots and we have Kalasia (Levine) and she’s hitting shots. As a team we’ve been doing very well.”
Along with the Bruins’ stellar offensive play, sophomore Sydney Ross has been key on the defensive end. She’s been able to make things difficult for opposing guards.
“She’s a gamechanger,” Carey said. “I mean 110 percent. The kid will get a blocked shot, go down and get a steal and then score a bucket. She’s tenacious, she never runs out of speed.”
The Bruins will now look to continue their quest for their first CIF title since 2000 when they face West Covina on Saturday.