Chaminade girls basketball beats Harvard-Westlake in overtime to claim second place in league

Chaminade’s Payton Montgomery controls the ball under pressure from Deana Thompson of Harvard-Westlake during their Mission League game Feb. 1, 2024. (Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake’s Deana Thompson gets by Chaminade’s Natalie Patrick-Aguiar and Alyssa Saldana during their Mission League game Feb. 1, 2024. (Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Chaminade’s Alyssa Saldana is defended by Harvard-Westlakexe2x80x99s Jamie Yue during their Mission League game Feb. 1, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Chaminade girls basketball coach Jason Ancrum congratulates his players as they pull ahead of Harvard-Westlake Feb. 1, 2024. (Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake players celebrate after Deana Thompson ties the game late in the 4th quarter against Chaminade Feb. 1, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Chaminade’s Payton Montgomery battles for a rebound against Harvard-Westlake during their Mission League game Feb. 1, 2024. (Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Players on the Chaminade girls basketball team celebrate as they pull ahead of Harvard-Westlake in overtime during their Mission League game Feb. 1, 2024. (Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake girls basketball coach Melissa Hearlihy leads her team against Chaminade Feb. 1, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

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STUDIO CITY — When the fourth quarter turned to overtime against Harvard-Westlake on Thursday, it became money time for the Chaminade girls basketball team.

It’s a phrase repeated at practice when it’s time to finish a drill strong, as they would do in a game. Coach Jason Ancrum took inspiration from the final minutes of NBA games when players earn their value and money.

The Eagles’ money was in the form of a 61-59 overtime win over the Wolverines that secured them second place in the Mission League.

“It’s go time. We’re all in,” Natalie Patrick-Aguilar said of money time. “The entire team, like, from the players on the court, to the people on the bench, everyone just gets so hyped because that they know or we all know that it’s our time to go.”

Harvard-Westlake’s Deana Thompson (24 points) tied the game at 52-all to send the game to overtime and hit a jumper to make it 54-all in overtime, but Chaminade made timely free throws to get ahead and Patrick-Aguilar made the game-winning layup with 3.7 seconds left in the game for a total of 16 points.

“I caught the ball, turned around, I just kind of went for it,” she said. “I was like you know what, this is it.”

Sierra Canyon had already locked up the Mission League title, leaving Harvard-Westlake (11-17 overall, 5-5 in Mission League) and Chaminade (16-10, 6-4) to battle for second place.

The Wolverines opened the game on a 6-0 run, forcing Chaminade to gain its composure as the first quarter went on. Mya Patrick made two 3-pointers to bring the score to 11-9 with roughly three minutes left in the quarter.

Thompson came up with a block, then took the ball across the court for a layup to keep Harvard-Westlake ahead. The Wolverines had another block moments later, but Chaminade tightened up defensively to keep them from putting together a scoring run.

Valentina Guerrero scored on a putback to start the second quarter and set the tone for the Wolverines’ rebounding. Guerrero got a basket off a rebound again halfway through the frame to put Harvard-Westlake up 24-18.

Madison McDonald hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer for a 33-23 advantage at the halftime break.

Chaminade got to the free throw line in the third quarter to steadily build up to its first lead of the game, which was achieved when Patrick made a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Chaminade’s Alyssa Saldana consistently contributed points and ended the game with 21 points.

Harvard-Westlake deployed a full-court press in the fourth quarter as the Eagles led 46-39.

“We were able to get back in the game and tie it up and send it to overtime,” Harvard-Westlake coach Melissa Hearlihy said. “We’re quick and aggressive. We were in a little bit of foul trouble early, so I didn’t really want to do that. So that was our way to try and get back in the game and I thought the kids did a good job.”

The Wolverines were already down a starter, as Angelina Habis sat out due to concussion protocol, and they lost Guerrero, who scored 14 points, in the second half due to what Hearlihy expects to be a broken nose.

McDonald and Jamie Yue also fouled out.

“I just told them, don’t give up,” Hearlihy said. “You fought to get to this point. Let’s get there.”

Chaminade has finished second in the Mission League since 2019 when it won the league title.

Ancrum, who is in his first year as head coach for the Eagles, had guided them to second place while creating a fresh start for the program.

“This league has been so fun,” Ancrum said. “All the games are so competitive. Everyone’s working hard against each other. I knew the game was going to be close like that. I didn’t think it was going to be that crazy.”

Both Harvard-Westlake and Chaminade receive automatic bids to the CIF Southern Section playoffs and will learn their first-round opponent when brackets come out Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

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