Oak Park girls basketball overpowers Cerritos in CIF-SS Division 3AA final

HUNTINGTON BEACH — The Oak Park girls basketball team used a balanced offensive attack, a physical defense and simply outworked Cerritos for a 71-41 victory Saturday in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA championship game at Edison High School.

The Eagles (20-7) made it back-to-back CIF-SS championships and have won 19 in a row.

They led 11-9 after the first quarter, but quickly opened the game up in the second quarter and never looked back. They led by as many as 30 points in the fourth quarter.

Oak Park guard Delaney White had a phenomenal game of 25 pts, 11 Rebs, 7 asts, and 3 steals and was ready to erupt after this impressive win for Eagles @OPHSEagles @BeachVarsity @presstelegram @ladailynews pic.twitter.com/2MbEhNeQlt

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) February 25, 2024

Congrats again to the CIF-SS Division 3AA girls basketball champion Oak Park High!

A convincing 30-point win over Cerritos @OPHSEagles @BeachVarsity @presstelegram @ladailynews pic.twitter.com/Zy4gDvff7j

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) February 25, 2024

Oak Park was led by sophomore guard Delaney White, who scored a game-high 25 points and finished with 11 rebounds. She also had seven assists and three steals.

Her ability to break down the defense against the smaller guards for the Dons and to find open shooters was a big difference in the outcome.

Junior forward Helena Koubeck finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Her ability to chase down 50/50 balls and grab offensive rebounds was a major factor.

However, she didn’t finish the game. She suffered a calf strain to her left leg toward the end of the third quarter, but wasn’t needed at that point with the Eagles leading by 17 points.

Oak Park senior forward Lindsay Gould added 13 points and four rebounds and hit three 3-pointers while also playing solid defense on Cerritos senior center Onyekachi Nwanze.

White said she trusted that her teammates were going to make shots if she got them the ball in the right spots.

Oak Park forward Helena Koubek finished with 15 pts and 15 Rebs and talks about grabbing the 50/50 balls, and offensive Rebs with Coach Burr growling in the background @BeachVarsity @presstelegram @ladailynews @OPHSEagles pic.twitter.com/x52uoyGWiM

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) February 25, 2024

Oak Park guard Delaney White did it all tonight with a game-high 25 pts, 11 Rebs, 7 asts, and 3 steals and talked about what was working for her offensively and overcoming Koubeks 3rd qt injury @BeachVarsity @presstelegram @OPHSEagles @ladailynews pic.twitter.com/cUKBb4EFpZ

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) February 25, 2024

“I trust all of my teammates with the basketball,” White said. “I knew if I just attacked, they were going to have to help and I trust (them). I know Lindsay can hit a 3 any time, any day. I know Helena, when she gets the ball in the paint, she’s a big problem. So getting the ball to them every time, I knew (Cerritos) would struggle with that. I knew I just had to attack and then once I attacked I’m kicking it out, because I believe in them 100 percent.”

Oak Park head coach William Burr said White has worked for years to be a great all-around player.

“The ball has been in her hands since I’ve known her, which was before she was born,” Burr said with a smile. “I’ve taught her how to facilitate and control the game, know when to score, know when to find teammates, control the tempo. Being able to finish (at) the rim, shoot the jump shot, shoot floaters; all of the things you guys got to see tonight, those are things she’s been working on and she got to display them.”

Oak Park coach William Burr talks about the championship win over Cerritos, how they took control of the game, and the impressive performance of both Delaney White and Helena Koubek @BeachVarsity @presstelegram @ladailynews @OPHSEagles pic.twitter.com/2mD7hmnLpr

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) February 25, 2024

Congrats to Cerritos High girls basketball team as the runners-up in the CIF-SS Division 3AA championship game

Despite the tough loss, they had a great season and gracious in defeat @BeachVarsity @presstelegram @Cerritoshs pic.twitter.com/4Gjwr3n4Zy

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) February 25, 2024

The Dons (23-10) will continue their season in state playoffs that start next week, but the loss in the championship was disappointing for them.

They trailed for the majority of the game and had no answers for the size, energy and intensity of the Eagles.

Cerritos head coach Marcus Chinen said defending White was tough, but believed in the team’s initial game plan.

Players and coaches for the Cerritos girls basketball team receive the CIF-SS runner-up plaque after their loss to Oak Park in the Division 3AA championship game Saturday, Feb. 24. (Photo by Chris Camello)

“The girls practice it all week,” he said. “If we were to change something, I don’t know if it would be worse, but they wouldn’t be used to the little changes on that, so we stuck with our game plan.

“We tried to get one of the girls to jump off and then try to help out a little bit more and I don’t know if they understand it through the game. They did help a little bit, so it kind of stopped her a little bit. She’s an awfully good player.”

Cerritos head coach Marcus Chinen talks about the tough championship loss to Oak Park, when the game got away from them, and struggling to contain guard Delaney White who scored 25 pts @BeachVarsity @presstelegram @Cerritoshs pic.twitter.com/CiulDoXd6C

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) February 25, 2024

Nwanze was a bright spot for the Dons, as she finished with a double-double of 16 points and 18 rebounds, plus had two blocks. She shot 7 of 20 from the field.

She said the Eagles defense made it tough to finish around the rim.

“I think sometimes they would resort to a double team or like a lot of loose arms there,” Nwanze said. “Honestly, I just have to play through it. It’s not like I can change their way of playing defense. I just have to play through it.”

Cerritos forward Amber Multani added nine points and seven rebounds.

Cerritos center Onyekachi Nwanze finished with 16 pts and 18 Rebs to lead Dons but talks about the struggles to make shots against Oak Park’s size and trying to take solace in a great season despite the tough loss @BeachVarsity @presstelegram @Cerritoshs pic.twitter.com/JWMLMOLGoR

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) February 25, 2024

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