(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The Eastern League’s second round of the Girls varsity “East L.A. ‘Hardwood-Hoops’ Classic” took place between the Garfield Lady Bulldogs versus their arch-rival competitor, the Roosevelt Lady Rough Riders on 2/3 in front of another packed house of 1,200 high school basketball enthusiasts. Garfield defeated Roosevelt in that first round encounter on 1/13 at Roosevelt and were more than ready to play them in their own gym on ‘“Senior Appreciation Night” for this match-up.
[Pre-Game & Playoff Update]: Garfield was the favorite to win due to their overall record and their Eastern League record. They wanted to post up another convincing win and earn Head Coach Oscar Tavera, in his first season, his second consecutive win against Roosevelt. And more good news if they were to win, he would lead his team to their 1st Eastern League Championship together with the victory. This accomplishment also earned them a 1st round and a #5 seed in the CIF/L.A. City Section’s, Division 1 playoff game which was played on 2/7 at Garfield against Venice. They then lost to the #4 seed Poly, located in Sun Valley, San Fernando Valley, on Thursday, 2/9 and the season ended with that game.
The gym was packed from the “tip-off” as this was a special Garfield “Senior Night” appreciation game, complete with a DJ and a CIF/L.A. City Section approved Public Address Announcer, Corey Kwok, who made the presentations of all Senior student-athletes and their accompanying families/relatives in their final game to all present. He also introduced the starting line-ups and provided game-time commentary for both games.
This game was very similar to their first match-up against the Lady Riders on 1/13/23 when, after a fairly close 1st quarter, the Garfield lead was (16-14). But, from the 2nd period on in this final encounter of the regular season, the Lady Bulldogs’ full-court pressure easily turned the tide once again in their favor, as they capitalized on a multitude of forced and unforced turnovers that led to fast breaks and easy baskets for much of the game.
At halftime, the score was (39-21) in favor of Garfield. The lead had grown to an (18) point margin and with their huge student-body, cheer and song group, parent group, and community followers cheering them on loudly and jubilantly, they breezed away and won by a final score of (55-37).
Leading the charge into victory lane for Garfield as our “Player of the Game” was #5/SO/Jada Barnes who led all scorers with a great game stat-line of: (33) points, (5) assists, (5 steals) and (3) rebounds. Her teammate, #20/SR/Jennette Delgado dropped in (12) points with (5) rebounds. #42/SO/Alisson Hernandez added another 8 points. And in a most fitting gesture, Coach Tavera was able to play all of his Seniors for their final game as a “Garfield Lady Bulldog.”
For the Roosevelt Lady Riders, they again did not have a good shooting night, and struggled on their defensive assignments. It is safe to say that they learned a lot with a big majority of underclass student-athletes playing lots of minutes for the full season. [Playoff Update]: Head Coach, Danny Vidal did a highly commendable job in his first season, and although their overall record was not what he expected, the team finished at (12-18), and they did reach the CIF/L.A. City Section Division 2 playoffs as the #16 seed, winning their “Play-In” game over Stern then losing to San Pedro.
Leading her team in scoring in this game was #2/FR/Ozomatli Lopez who put in (13) points, and #0/SO/Alexa Sanchez with (11). #1/SO/Anahi Lopez nailed two 3 pointers for (6) and #22/SO/Naomi Sanchez had (5) points and (8) rebounds. #4/SO/Nadia Zepeda had (2) points to round out the scoring. Other “key” players in this game were Center, #23/SO/Salote Patetefa (5) rebounds and #5/FR/Alejandra Sanchez. Roosevelt’s future is looking brighter for the next several years with this core group that has now become very seasoned.
In closing and with several of our last thoughts, Garfield will take the full share of “bragging rights” as the double-winner of the “East L.A. ‘Hardwood-Hoops’ Classic” (Girls Basketball Edition), for the 2022-23 season. It was truly a great opportunity for East L.A. Sports Scene to experience, and play a special “media” part in the presentation of having the two Varsity teams compete in their nationally-renown big “rivalry game“on the same day and together in their home gyms during the 5:30 pm slot for the Girls and the 7:00 pm slot for the Boys. We look forward to a repeat in the same format for the 2023-24 season.
Many Thanks again to both schools’ Administrations for approving this special “rivalry game” scheduling format, especially for the Girls team, as their parents, and extended families, were more able to see their loved ones play at a later time of the day. It was certainly a memorable night for them to see their daughters compete in this amazing and exciting high school experience and environment and then be able to “re-live” it together with them in person and/or on our website for many years to come.
To put our media contribution into further perspective, I’d like to say that throughout all the years of East L.A. Sports Scene’s coverage of the Roosevelt vs. Garfield “East L.A. ‘Football’ Classic,” we can now add the Boys & Girls Varsity Basketball rivalries to that same format which shows what this time-honored tradition of playing for your school and community, in both the sports of football and basketball, can do to raise more school spirit and situational awareness on the impact of high school sports.
Next, we are hoping to add the sports of baseball and softball to our full game list of “play-by-play” commentary as single game “East L.A. Classic” formatted events and make our requests to cover them as we did basketball. We will keep all informed on the submissions of these next two requests.