SURROUNDED Rio Lindo's Aria Matsumura (2) finds herself in the middle of a ring of Point Arena Pirates. Point Arena defeated Rio Lindo, 48-34, and advanced to Division 6 finals. (Photo by Michael Lucid)

The Rio Lindo girls basketball team fell to the Point Arena Pirates last Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the third round of NCS Division 6 playoffs. That bumps the Lady Spartans from the division playoffs, but there’s a chance they will get an invitation to the CIF.

BATTLE Point Arena’s Hattie Piper (1) and Rio Lindo’s Belen Hernandez (10) battle for control of a rebound at their game on Feb. 20. (Photo by Michael Lucid)

A slow start from the home team saw Point Arena end the first quarter up 13-6, 22-9 at the half.  At halftime, coach Laura Barcenas made some changes, and the second half started off stronger for Rio Lindo. They played back and forth, with the Spartans cutting the lead to 9 with four minutes left in the game.

But the big momentum-changing shot never dropped for Rio Lindo. Each time Rio Lindo made a run, Point Arena would answer with a couple of baskets to keep them out of reach.

“It was an off night for our shooters,” Athletic Director Kevin Hardesty said. “The hustle and effort were there, but in the end we didn’t shoot well enough to advance.”

In the end, the final score was 48-34 in favor of Point Arena. Pirates star Hattie Piper led all scorers with 27 pts, while Kaia Miller had 13 points and Belen Hernandez added 11 for Rio Lindo. The Pirates advance to play San Francisco Waldorf on Saturday night in the NCS Division 6 championship game.

Rio Lindo, which ended the season 19-5, was seeded No. 8 in the CIF NorCal playoffs, Division 6, and played the No. 1 seed, Weed, on Wednesday, Feb. 28. They lost to the favored team, 58-27, thus ending a strong 2024 season for the Lady Spartans.

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