The Broncos held back a late fourth-period rally to win Saturday night. With 90 seconds left in the game, Millikan went on a 10-0 surge that brought the Rams to within a point, 67-66.
The Broncos responded, Serafina Maulupe made a clutch lay-up in a crowd of defenders and then sank two free throws to put the game on ice.
The victory sends the Broncos to the State Championship Semifinals. It is the first time in the Valley’s history that a girls basketball team has made it this far into the tournament.
“We are so excited with our performance tonight. Serafina played huge for us. Tatiana Navarro and Alexis Rivas really played solid games. This was a big-time team win, Jaelyn Brown had a double-double. Serafina was nearly flawless,” said Bronco Coach Chris Jones. “We had contributions from our bench that carried us to victory and we responded well in a big-time game. I am so proud and happy for our girls.”
The Broncos took a 47-30 lead into the start of the third period and led until Brittney Reed fouled out, Yuendie Guridi got injured and Jaeyln Brown found herself in foul trouble.
The Rams clawed back but the Bronco bench responded.
“This win was a team effort. Everyone contributed in this game. The bench played their hearts out. When Jaelyn and Britney fouled out and Yuendie was hurt early, the girls off the bench played their role and knew what they had to do,” said Bronco Captain Serafina Maulupe. “They stay composed and I’m happy how we all played together and for one another.”
Maulupe led the Bronco attack with 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists. She was 10 for 11 at the charity stripe.
Brown and Reed dominated the boards and were key to Vista Murrieta’s success. Rivas and Leitasi Cravens were solid and rose to the occasion when teammate Guridi went down with an injury.
Vista Murrieta will face Canyon Springs from Moreno Valley in a rematch of their Southern Section Division IA match. The Broncos lost that semifinal game 78-69 on Feb. 26.