With six minutes left Tuesday night in the CIF Southern Section Division 1A semifinal game, the Vista Murrieta girls varsity basketball team trailed 66-50.
The Lady Broncos rallied behind teammates Serafina Maulupe and Jaelyn Brown, who came together for an 11-0 scoring frenzy to cut the Moreno Valley's Canyon Springs' lead to five.
The Lady Cougars answered and kept the hustling Broncos at bay as starters Brown and Yuendie Guridi fouled out. With the score 72-68 and less than a minute on the game clock, Murrieta’s strategy to foul and rebound failed as the Cougars nailed six consecutive field throws to pull away with win, 78-69.
Vista Murrieta started the game strong in the first period but trailed 43-34 at the half.
“We gave up too many easy baskets in the first half. A total of 19 field goals. The most we had given up all year in a half was 15,” said Bronco Coach Chris Jones.
Bronco captain Maulupe scored 25 points to lead Vista Murrieta. Brown and fellow freshman Brittney Reed both had double-doubles in the contest. Brown had 19 points and 12 rebounds while Reed scored 11 with 10 boards.
Guridi and Leitasi Cravens scored five points each. Captain Alexis Rivas had four points.
“Overall I am very proud of the girls. We hung in there and made a nice run at the end but then missed a couple costly free throws," Jones said. “We will regroup and get ourselves ready to go in the state tournament."
The loss ended a 14-game winning streak for the girls, who were playing for a chance at the Division 1A title.