By Aidan Fitzsimon
Lowell High School came out ready to play Tuesday against Caruthers High School in the opening round of the girls bracket of the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic at St. Ignatius, cruising to a 68-24 victory.
Lowell (10-2) outran the Raiders (4-5) early, leading to easy layups in transition, and when the Cardinals set up on offense, they would manipulate the smaller Raiders in the paint.
“I thought we transitioned very well today,” said Lowell head coach Aki Kuwada. “I thought we could have gotten better spacing on our transition, but I thought we did a better job than we have in the past.”
Lowell junior center Lorna Tuufuli proved to be the toughest challenge for Caruthers, scoring a game-high 15 points in limited minutes due to the big lead.
Junior guard Katarina Lum added 12 points for the Cardinals, all coming in the first half, including nine in the first quarter.
“I think as a team, we are ready on offense, [but] with the defense, we could tighten that up a little more,” Tuufuli said.
With the win, Lowell will play Pinewood in the championship bracket semifinals on Wednesday.
Where the Cardinals looked sharp throughout the game, the Raiders struggled. Caruthers had difficulties getting the ball up-court, as the Lowell defense forced countless turnovers.
The lone bright spot for the Raiders was junior guard Bailey Osmer, who scored 13 of her team’s 24 points.
“Their depth and size were the biggest differences,” said Caruthers head coach Anna Almeida. “We struggled rebounding against their big girls, who were a lot more agile than our big girls.”
Lorna Tuufuli — 15
Katarina Lum — 12
Kelly Wong — 10
Natalie Moy — 9
Jillian Doherty — 8
Bailey Osmer — 13
Katelyn Beitz — 4
Lindsey Gilmore — 2
Katie Loftin — 2
Three players tied with 1 point