Sierra Canyon girls basketball again comes up just short against Windward

LOS ANGELES >> It would have been such an improbable shot. Impossible really.Trailing by one point with 1.1 seconds left and no time outs on the road trying to bring down a powerhouse and emerging nemesis, the stage was set.Somehow the Sierra Canyon...

Sierra Canyon girls basketball again comes up just short against Windward

LOS ANGELES >> It would have been such an improbable shot. Impossible really.

Trailing by one point with 1.1 seconds left and no time outs on the road trying to bring down a powerhouse and emerging nemesis, the stage was set.

Somehow the Sierra Canyon girls basketball team got the ball to its best shooter in Ryann Payne, who lofted a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

To think it nearly went in.

Payne’s 3-pointer from the top of the arch was barely long, allowing Windward to escape with a 51-50 victory in Friday night’s Gold Coast League championship game at Windward.

“That was as good of a look as we were going to get in that situation,” Sierra Canyon coach Alicia Komaki said.

Windward (20-3) beat Sierra Canyon (20-5) earlier this season on a buzzer-beater by Sela Kay on Jan. 17.

Payne thought she delivered a buzzer-beater of her own.

“It felt good. I felt it,” Payne said. “With 1.1 seconds left, it’s going to be close. I knew I had to focus on getting my shot. It just didn’t fall.

“It hurts. It hurts, man. Losing hurts. We just have to move forward.”

One of these days, Sierra Canyon is going to figure out a way to beat Windward.

It just wasn’t Friday night.

Sierra Canyon lost its second game to Windward this season with both games coming down to the final shot.

Now Sierra Canyon is mired in a four-game losing streak to Windward.

“This is the one that hurts though,” Komaki said. “Our goal before every year is to win the league title.

“I told them I had no words. What makes it tough is that the coaching staff hurts as much a the players. I just try to be encouraging. They will hopefully learn from it and will be ready for the playoffs.”.

What it means is that Sierra Canyon will be the No. 4 seed instead of the No. 3 seed in the CIF Southern Section Open Division playoffs, according to a source familiar with the Open Division committee. No. 1 Long Beach Poly, No. 2 Etiwanda and No. 3 Windward are ahead of them.

The source said Sierra Canyon will host Chaminade in an epic first-round matchup, though Sierra Canyon felt it let an opportunity slip away.

“This could’ve been a championship, something we could’ve won, something we could’ve grabbed,” Sierra Canyon’s Alexis Griggsby said. “It hurts now. But we have to take all of this energy, and anger and push it for the playoffs.”

Charisma Osbourne led Windward with 26 points, and Kay had 12 points.

Payne finished with 20 points, including a gnarly crossover move in the first half and a pair of 3-pointers.

Griggsby had 15 points, and Sophia Jacobsson hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second half to keep Sierra Canyon within striking distance. Sierra Canyon trailed 32-23 at the start of the second half before mounting a comeback to nearly steal the game.

In fact, Sierra Canyon led 43-41 with 5:13 left in the game on a putback by Amanda Olinger, but Game 1 hero Kay answered with a 3-pointer to give Windward a lead it did not relinquish.

“We’re usually the ones losing the lead this year,” Komaki said. “But the girls came back, and I’m really proud of that effort.”

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