Serra Dominates From Start in Win Over Vista Murrieta

Vista Murrieta High School girls basketball coach Chris Jones could only acknowledge the obvious Tuesday night. "We just didn't...

Vista Murrieta High School girls basketball coach Chris Jones could only acknowledge the obvious Tuesday night.

"We just didn't play well and we caught the other team on a night when they played very well," he said. "When that happens, you're going to have a massive disparity between the teams."

That was the case as the visiting Serra High Cavaliers took control of the game early and dominated throughout in a 71-56 victory over Vista Murrieta in the CIF state regional semifinals. Junior point guard Briana Johnson led the way with 29 points and senior guard Brooke Bayman added 10 for Serra, which improved its record to 22-10.


(Above, Vista's No. 33, Jaelyn Brown, shoots over Serra defender Camille Hailey).

Vista's Broncos (24-8) finished their season with a sense of frustration that their shooting couldn't match Serra's, the defense couldn't contain the Cavaliers' excellent ball movement, and they seemed to lose out on every loose ball.

"We stunk the place up," Jones said. "That's one of the worst games we've played in quite a while. Meanwhile, they shot the lights out and got all the defensive rebounds. We weren't playing the lanes like we normally do. They got to the basket any time they wanted it."

(At right, Vista's Alexis Marshall battles a Serra defender for the ball).

Serra led 34-20 at halftime and the Broncos never reduced the gap to single digits in the second half. Junior forward Jaelyn Brown scored a three-point play with a driving layup and free throw early in the third quarter to close a 39-22 gap to 39-25, but Serra came right back, forcing turnovers and scoring seemingly at will. It was 55-39 at the end of the third quarter.

Vista employed a full-court press in the final minutes but couldn't put together back-to-back baskets often enough to turn the momentum.

Junior forward Brittney Reed led Vista in scoring with 25 points and Brown finished with 19.

Jones tried to put things in perspective when asked to evaluate the season as a whole.

"When you look at where we were two years ago, the girls have done a fantastic job," he said. "I'm disappointed they didn't get one step further than last year, but look around. Not many teams are still playing in the state tournament."

Everyone watches as Vista Murrieta's Kali Jones puts up a shot in the first half Tuesday night.


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