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La Jolla Country Day girls win state regional basketball playoff opener and will host semifinal March 5

La Jolla Country Day's Naomi Paganiban (center) and Jada Williams (right) celebrate a basket by Tajianna Roberts (left).
La Jolla Country Day’s Naomi Paganiban (center) and Jada Williams (right) celebrate a basket by Tajianna Roberts (left) in the final minutes of the CIF Southern California girls basketball regional Open Division playoff game against Mater Dei of Santa Ana on March 2.
(Hayne Palmour IV)

The Torreys have won 17 straight and are 13-0 at home.

La Jolla Country Day School, the No. 2 seed in the Open Division of the state regional girls basketball playoffs, picked a bad night to misfire from the free-throw line.

In the end, though, the Torreys hit two free throws at the end of the game to hold off No. 7 Mater Dei of Santa Ana, 53-45, in the opening round of play March 2.

Jada Williams canned both free throws with 26.8 seconds left to end any hopes the Monarchs had of an upset.

Before Williams’ two shots, LJCDS (25-2), the CIF San Diego Section Open Division champion, was 10 for 24 from the line for the game.

“That’s terrible. Normally, we shoot about 80 percent as a team from the line,” Torreys coach Terri Bamford said. “We’ll need to work on that before the next game.”

Country Day will host No. 3 Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth, which defeated No. 6 Cathedral Catholic in the other Southern California quarterfinal game, in the regional semifinals at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 5. The winner qualifies for the regional finals.

The Torreys have won 17 straight games and are 13-0 at home this season.

Junior center Breya Cunningham, who battled foul trouble most of the game, led Country Day with 20 points and nine rebounds against Mater Dei.

Williams and Naomi Paganiban each scored nine points. ◆