Chatsworth girls basketball takes down Oakwood with second-half surge

CHATSWORTH — The word of the day for Kai “Coach K” Lewis and the Chatsworth girls basketball team was resilience.

The Chancellors had lost to Oakwood in a tournament matchup Saturday, and here the two teams were facing each other again Friday night.

This time the Chancellors beat the Owls 53-44 in the nonleague game for their 10th win of the season.

With three games left before entering league play, Chatsworth showed the level of confidence that Lewis talked about prior to the matchup.

“Resilience, resilience, resilience. We just got beat by this team on Saturday and they already felt like they had the upper hand,” said Lewis.

“I hope they keep this resilience because we’re in a tough league. I hope we continue to grow from this; graduating four seniors is hard to grow off that. Great win but we got a lot of stuff to work on.”

The Chancellors (10-2), who had lost to Oakwood, 58-42, showed they were a team on a mission as they began the game with a 15-0 run.

Oakwood (8-2) scored seven quick points before the end of the first quarter.

Chatsworth sophomore center and team captain Ria Peres scored all eight of her points in the first quarter. Peres ended the night with a team-best 16 rebounds.

In the second quarter, the Owls showed exactly why they won the prior matchup. The Owls held the Chancellors to just six points in the second quarter, and with a buzzer-beating shot they took a 25-23 lead into halftime.

The Chancellors halted the Owls’ momentum in the third quarter, led by sophomore guard Victoria Menjivar. She stuffed the stat sheet and ended the game with 16 points (seven in the third quarter), nine rebounds and a team-high five steals.

“We knew what we had to do,” said Menjivar. “We beat a team that we knew we could beat and came back stronger than the last time we played them. Thankfully, our coach already told us what we needed to do. Just keep pushing on the gas. We wanted to show them that we could win.”

Entering the fourth quarter, the Chancellors built up a 43-34 lead, but the Owls continued to battle. With clutch steals from Menjivar, the scoring opportunities for the Chancellors became too much for Oakwood to overcome.

Sophomore power forward Zak’irah Bruce put away the game away for the Chancellors. Bruce went scoreless in the first half but ended her night with 13 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.

“We communicated and played very well, but most of all we fought,” said Bruce. “We just lost to them on Saturday in the tournament, so we had to get this win. We fought out there and came in with a Mamba mentality. Everyone always looks at Chatsworth as the underdogs so we needed that mentality.”

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