Girls Basketball: Lincoln cruises to AAA final with win over Balboa

By Josh Levine

Balboa High School could not find an answer for Hallie Meneses and Lincoln High School in its 74-54 loss to the Mustangs in the semifinal round of the AAA playoffs on Tuesday at Kezar Pavilion.

Lincoln sophomore forward Cathy Cai battles with two Balboa defenders in the Mustangs' 74-54 win in the AAA semifinals on Tuesday at Kezar Pavilion. (Photo by Devin Chen)

Meneses, a senior guard for Lincoln (26-6), led all scorers with 27 points, shooting 6-for-10 from three-point range.

“I was surprised, I don’t usually make that many [shots],” Meneses said. “Coach was telling me to shoot more, near the end of the game, but it was tough trying to be selfish.”

Meneses was the only player for Lincoln to score in double-figures, but 11 of her teammates scored throughout the game.

With the win, Lincoln, the Lang Division’s top seed, will face Lowell, the Neff Division’s top seed, in the championship game on Friday night at Kezar Pavilion.

The win also clinches a bid to the CIF-NorCal playoffs for the Mustangs, which begin on March 9.

All of Balboa’s 54 points came from its five starters, led by Malaysia Basallo, who had a team-high 21 points.

At halftime the Buccaneers (14-13) were only down 11 points, but the Mustangs started the third quarter with a 14-0 run and never looked back.

“We’ve been prone to bad third quarters,” said Balboa Head Coach Will Laeha. “As a coach, I can learn from this as I go on in my coaching career.”

Turnovers were common early and often for both teams, but the Buccaneers had 38 turnovers total and the Mustangs only had 27. Each team used a full-court press to force the abundance of turnovers.

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