The Coast Union High School girls basketball team had a fairly easy time in its first-round game of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA playoffs Thursday Feb. 7, against Calvary Christian from Downey with a dominating 67-27 win.
Ellie Kennedy led the way with 17 points, and Kaylee Ferguson scored 16. Karis Lawson scored 14 points, had nine assists and 10 rebounds, while Ailyn Casas added 12 points.
But it was an entirely different story for the Broncos in the second round Saturday. They had to travel 270 miles to play Montclair, a school with a student population just under 3,000 students (Coast has approximately 190).
And Coast found themselves on the other side of a lopsided final score, 65-35, as its season came to an end after going undefeated at 10-0 (19-5 overall) to win the Coast Valley League.
Coast head coach Keith Stowers said it wasn’t only the discrepancy in school size that factored into the defeat.
“(It was) the poorest officiated game I’ve ever been involved with,” he said. “You would expect better officials in playoffs.
“They were an extremely physical team, and yet the fouls were 2-1 against us. The girls deserved a better ending to a great season.”
For perspective, Kaylee Ferguson fouled out of the game, yet she was called for just six fouls all season prior to the game.
It was also noted that the Montclair coach stood near his baseline for most of the game, against CIF rules for coaches. The rules state that coaches are required to stay at least 14 feet from center court — and must stay in their box.
Several family members of players filed letters of protest to the CIF-Southern Section.
Notwithstanding the ugly outcome in Montclair — and the pain and frustration the players had to endure in what some considered an unfair game — Stowers said: “This was by far the most enjoyable team I’ve coached and I’m going to miss all the fun we had. We played the game the way it was meant to be played.”
Stowers is losing four seniors who were pivotal in this successful season for the Lady Broncos: Bella Raethke, Ailyn Casas, Karis Lawson and Ferguson. “They will be sorely missed,” he said.