Basketball Lakewood

CIF Girls’ Basketball: Berecochea’s Monster Game Leads Lakewood to Playoff Win

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

The most successful season in recent memory rolls on for the Lakewood girls’ basketball program. Senior Laci Berecochea poured in a career-high 34 points to help the Lancers win their 25th game of the season, routing Bishop Conaty-Loretto, 70-31, in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 3A playoffs.

Berecochea had 12 points in the opening quarter, just getting her prolific scoring night going. Her points were extra valuable in Thursday’s win given that Lakewood (25-4) was playing without star guard Nyemah King, who was sitting out with a leg injury. King hopes to be back soon for the Lancers, but her teammates did just fine without her to open their postseason run as the No. 2 seed in their bracket.

“Yeah, with Nyemah out, I’m extremely proud,” said Lakewood head coach Eric Oswell. “I knew somebody was gonna step up, and Laci did it today. She played a big game. And of course, her teammates were looking for and I guess (Bishop Conaty-Loretto) underestimated her, so that’s why she was open, but she played very aggressive.”

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Berecochea hit a three-pointer from the corner to open the scoring, then helped lead Lakewood on a 14-0 run in the first quarter to give them plenty of cushion. She also scored 7 of Lakewood’s first 9 points of the second half as the lead quickly swelled to 30 for the home team.

“It was definitely fun,” said Berecochea after her career night. “I didn’t want my year to end, especially not at home. So I came out, played my best and whatever happened, happened. I was just having fun … I knew I had to step it up, but I didn’t think I was gonna do it that much. But I was just open, I had a good week of practice shooting-wise, so I just let it fly. And they were going in, so why not?”

Cristina Jones added 13 points for the Lancers, scoring all of her points in the first half. Amy Rubio had four points while Nyla Hankins and Micaela Lorta each had 3. Lakewood also got contributions from a ton of underclassmen called up from the lower levels, including Jaela Baker, Dionna Bradley, and Kasey Henson. 

It’s the first time Lakewood girls’ basketball has reached the 25-win plateau in at least two decades, and the Lancers are poised to continue their playoff run on Saturday in round two.

“Our main thing is we’ve just got to stay aggressive, and be very disciplined and aggressive on defense,” explained Osell. “Make sure we’re cutting off driving lanes and then recovering to shooters with a hand up. I told all my girls, defense and rebounding wins games in the playoffs.”

Next up for Lakewood is a trip to face Campbell Hall on Saturday night.

VIDEO: Lakewood vs. Bishop Conaty-Loretto, CIF Girls’ Basketball
Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.