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La Cañada High girls' basketball gets its share of Rio Hondo League title

Basketball: Led by Bessho's double-double, Spartans down San Marino, 58-31.

February 13, 2014|By Nathan Cambridge, Special to the Valley Sun

SAN MARINO — It was the final game of the regular season for the La Cañada High girls’ basketball team and it needed to finish with a victory to guarantee a repeat Rio Hondo League title.

Although the Spartans came into the finale tied atop the Rio Hondo with South Pasadena, the Tigers were finishing on the road against a winless Blair squad, which they beat by 74 points in the first meeting. Thus, anything less than a win for the Spartans would almost assuredly mean even a share of the league crown would be out of reach.

Standing in the way Thursday evening was host San Marino, but despite playing what Spartans Coach Tamar Hill labeled “an ugly game,” La Cañada overcame the Titans with relative ease to stake its claim to the Rio Hondo crown and repeat as league champion with a 58-31 win.

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“It’s amazing,” Spartan Keilee Bessho said of wrapping a share of the title on Thursday. “It might have been ugly, but all together we did a great job. We worked really well this season. We practiced really hard. It’s amazing.”

La Cañada (21-5, 9-1) was led to victory by Bessho, who had a stellar all-around game and was key in the second quarter that saw the Spartans outscore San Marino (7-19, 4-6), 21-1.

“[Bessho] was just a monster. She had a double-double today. She came to play,” Hill said. “She really carried us through. Everyone else was kind of like a little slow on every step, not quite in position. ... It might as well have been the Keilee Bessho show.”

Bessho led all scorers with 18 points, including 12 in the second quarter after going scoreless in the first. This also meant she had outdistanced the home team, which trailed, 36-9, at half. All of the junior’s points came inside, as she tormented the Titans in the paint while going eight of 14 from the field.

“Honestly, it was more my teammates working really hard and I was just the one putting in the lay-ups. I give all props to them,” Bessho said.

The La Cañada guard also pulled down 12 rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block.

Senior guard Courtney Chen joined Bessho in double digits with 10 points. Senior forward Alyssa Miller chipped in nine points via three makes from beyond the arc.

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