The Nighthawks took a two-hour bus ride Wednesday to play Saugus in the CIF Southern Section Division 2A playoffs.
The long trip didn’t seem to affect Murrieta Valley's varsity girls basketball team, as the players came out strong and dominated the game from the opening tip-off.
Murrieta Valley outplayed the Centurions all evening long and cruised to a 25-12 lead at the half. Saugus never recovered and the Nighthawks coasted to a 51-35 win to advance to the quarterfinals.
“We did a good job of running the court throughout the game against Saugus," said Coach Scott Richards. "After taking a long road trip you have to be a bit concerned of the fatigue the team might show later in the game. Our players looked conditioned and outperformed Saugus down the stretch. Our bench players did a great job coming in and giving our starters a much needed rest as well."
Ariana Hernandez was named player of the game. Hernandez led the Nighthawks with 16 total points, shooting a very impressive 86 percent of her field goals. She had one three-pointer, two defensive rebounds, five assists, a steal, and also went 3- 4 from the charity stripe, according to Richards.
Karen Wolf and Deshea Wilkes both had “double doubles” for the Nighthawks. Wolf scored 14 points and hauled in 15 rebounds, while Wilkes had 15 points and grabbed 10 boards.
Alex Morrison, Brynn Dahmer and Aliah Marshall—who is recovering from a knee injury—all scored two points apiece.
“Going into the game we had two basic objectives; one to get the road win, and two, to leave the game healthy. We were able to achieve both tonight and I am very pleased with the results," Richards said.
The Nighthawks will be at home Saturday night to take on seventh-seeded Segerstrom from Santa Ana in CIF quarterfinal action. The Jaguars are 23-5 overall and are coming off a 45-32 victory over Kennedy High School.
Game time is 7 p.m. Come out and support the Nighthawks in their quest for the CIF Southern Section Division 2A title.