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Canyon girls hoops falls in regional quarterfinal

Cowboys end highly successful season

Posted: March 12, 2016 7:36 p.m.
Updated: March 12, 2016 7:36 p.m.
Canyon's Alaina Garcia (4) goes up for a shot as Lakeside center Emma Merriweather (54) defends at Golden Valley High on Saturday night. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal Canyon's Alaina Garcia (4) goes up for a shot as Lakeside center Emma Merriweather (54) defends at Golden Valley High on Saturday night. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
Canyon's Alaina Garcia (4) goes up for a shot as Lakeside center Emma Merriweather (54) defends at Golden Valley High on Saturday night. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
Canyon center Rachel Bowers (44) eyes the basket while Lakeside center Emma Merriweather (54) defends in the second half at Golden Valley on Saturday. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal Canyon center Rachel Bowers (44) eyes the basket while Lakeside center Emma Merriweather (54) defends in the second half at Golden Valley on Saturday. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
Canyon center Rachel Bowers (44) eyes the basket while Lakeside center Emma Merriweather (54) defends in the second half at Golden Valley on Saturday. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
Canyon girls basketball players react to a turnover in the final moments of their CIF State Division 3 second round game against Lakeside at Golden Valley on Saturday. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal Canyon girls basketball players react to a turnover in the final moments of their CIF State Division 3 second round game against Lakeside at Golden Valley on Saturday. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
Canyon girls basketball players react to a turnover in the final moments of their CIF State Division 3 second round game against Lakeside at Golden Valley on Saturday. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
Canyon guard Talia Taufaasau (3) takes a final desperation shot at the end of the Cowboys' CIF State Division 3 second-round loss to Lakeside at Golden Valley High on Saturday. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal Canyon guard Talia Taufaasau (3) takes a final desperation shot at the end of the Cowboys' CIF State Division 3 second-round loss to Lakeside at Golden Valley High on Saturday. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
Canyon guard Talia Taufaasau (3) takes a final desperation shot at the end of the Cowboys' CIF State Division 3 second-round loss to Lakeside at Golden Valley High on Saturday. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
Canyon girls basketball head coach Jessica Haayer addresses her team on Saturday during a timeout in a CIF State Division 3 second round game against Lakeside at Golden Valley. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal Canyon girls basketball head coach Jessica Haayer addresses her team on Saturday during a timeout in a CIF State Division 3 second round game against Lakeside at Golden Valley. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
Canyon girls basketball head coach Jessica Haayer addresses her team on Saturday during a timeout in a CIF State Division 3 second round game against Lakeside at Golden Valley. Photo by Tom Cruze/For The Signal
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Shooters are often told to never stop shooting, and on Saturday night, Canyon girls basketball was on the wrong side of a dagger that proved that idiom true.

Lakeside’s Marissa Williams hit a 3-pointer with just nine seconds left, putting the exclamation point on a back-and-forth CIF State Division 3 second round contest won by the Lancers, 47-45.

The closing moments were frenzied, with Canyon’s Talia Taufaasau hitting back-to-back shots, one an acrobatic layup around Lakeside defenders, to give the Cowboys a two-point lead with under 30 seconds remaining.

But a Canyon defensive miscue left Williams all alone with the game on the line.

“It’s tough to be positive. It’s just little things we work on all year … you never help off a shooter, and we helped off a shooter,” said Canyon head coach Jessica Haayer.

Williams was just 3-of-12 on the night for a total of nine points.

But all anyone cared about after the game were those final three.

“Marissa’s a four-year varsity player. I don’t want to say that’s what we expect from her,” said Lakeview head coach Ed Raiford, of the game-winning shot, “but that’s what we expect from her.”

Canyon, CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA runners-up, knew it would need to find an answer to Lakeview 6-foot-4-inch center Emma Merriweather.

Its best answer turned out to be going bigger than expected, surprising the Lancers with the dual threat of center Rachel Bowers and forward Shauna VanGrinsvne.

Canyon used the extra size to clog the lane and make things more difficult for Merriweather and her teammates to work the ball inside.

“They caught us off guard, and it took us a minute to adjust,” Raiford said of Canyon’s in-game adjustment to go with two bigs.

Before that point, Lakeview looked like it might pull away, taking a 21-12 lead early in the second quarter.

But Canyon closed the half on the top of its game as the Lancers struggled mightily to adjust to the combination of Bowers and VanGrinsvne.

“We could have easily folded,” Haayer said of her team. “And they battled back. That was the shortest halftime speech I’ve ever given.”

The Cowboys maintained their intensity through the final buzzer, but still find themselves at the end of a very successful 2015-16 season.

“It was one heck of a season,” Haayer said. “We surpassed expectations. We surpassed my expectations. Half my team is sophomores and juniors. I have no doubt we’ll be back next year.”

Taufaasau and VanGrinsven led the Cowboys with 11 points each, while Alaina Garcia scored eight and Bowers added seven points.

Merriweather led Lakeview with 13 points, Williams added nine and Triann Thompson scored eight.

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