Senior Brandy Riziki battles for a rebound in the Cavs' final home game of the season. (Photo by Shimin Zhang)

In last home game of season, Girls basketball team unable to escape from Lions’ den

The Cavs staged an exciting rally in their last home game of the season on Jan. 31 against the Faith Christian Lions but lost 40-33 to fall to 2-13 overall and 1-11 in league.

Senior Heidi Johnson led Country Day with 27 points, followed by sophomore Naomi Cohen with four and sophomore Lindsay Burback with two.

The start of the game was not in the Cavs’ favor. The Lions (6-15, 6-7) scored 10 points before Johnson made a layup. The Cavs didn’t score again in the first quarter, which ended 14-2.

Both teams were only able to score a few baskets in the second quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Johnson stole the ball, dribbled downcourt and made a layup for the Cavs’ first points of the period.

The Cavs’ defense strengthened, according to senior guard Brandy Riziki, and Johnson scored another basket, sending Country Day into halftime down 22-6.

The Cavs could have lost hope at this point, but they continued to fight in the second half.

Johnson, however, went down early in the third quarter after trying to block a shot.

“I had jumped up and landed on a girl’s foot and rolled my ankle,” Johnson said. “That’s happened to me in the past where I’ve rolled my ankle and been out. But when I stood up, it was OK, so I just continued to play.”

Johnson didn’t let the fall bring her down, immediately stealing the ball and driving for a layup.

After the Lions increased their lead to 30-8, the Cavs scored nine consecutive points.

The fourth quarter was one of the most intense of the season for the Cavs, according to Country Day coach Latonia Pitts.

“One of the most interesting moments of this game was Naomi’s fast-break layup,” Pitts said.

Along with holding the Lions at 35 points, the Cavs scored basket after basket.

The spectators were now on the edge of their seats with only a few minutes left and Faith Christian leading 35-30. A win for the Cavs was in sight.

Johnson made one of two free-throw attempts, stole the ball and made a layup, cutting the Lions’ lead to 35-33.

At this point, the Cavs’ fans were cheering loudly for the team, but their cheers didn’t last long as the Lions scored the last five points of the game.

“It was very intense at the end of the game, and we got really close too,” Johnson said. “We definitely should’ve boxed out for rebounds; we let them get way too many rebounds, and that was a big part of why we lost.”

Johnson and Riziki were honored on Senior Night.

“I’m going to miss them both,” Pitts said. “Johnson is a really strong player, and I wish her all the best in her athletic endeavours.

“This was Riziki’s first year, and she’s a natural athlete, so it’s sad to her go. I wish she could’ve played (longer) with us.”

The Cavs’ next game is on Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. against Cristo Rey at St. Francis Armory.

By Arikta Trivedi

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