LEAGUE CHAMPS The Rio Lindo Academy girls’ basketball team shows off their league trophy following the Thursday, Feb. 8 Small School Bridge League Championship game.

After the final buzzer sounded on Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Small School Bridge League Championship game, the Rio Lindo Lady Spartans were on top with a final score of 34-20 over Summerfield Waldorf. 

This victory marked the third time since 2015 the girls have won the league title. It also gave them their 18th win on the season, matching the school record for wins in a season. 

Not only did they finish a perfect 7-0 in league play, they finished a perfect 16-0 against all other Division 6 teams. Their overall record stands at 18-4 with the four losses coming to opponents in Division 4 and Division 5.  

The play this season has earned them the #2 overall seed for NCS Division 6 playoffs, the highest seed earned in program history. The team enjoyed a first round bye on Wednesday, and will host either Round Valley or Quarry Lane at 7:30 on Saturday night, with a chance to qualify for the state playoffs on the line. 

If the team can win that game, they will be in the final four of NCS, which qualifies them for a spot in the CIF State playoffs starting Tuesday, Feb. 27. “It’s playoff time, and anything can happen,” said the school’s athletic director, Kevin Hardesty.

“This team has done a lot this season, but everything they have done, they have worked for,” Hardesty said. 

In order to win their first round playoff game, they will have to do without starting center Torika Avoi, who is in concussion protocol after a tumble in last week’s game. This will cause the team to rely heavily on the senior duo of Kaia Miller and Belen Hernandez to lead the way.  

The boys’ team, meanwhile, experienced the usual ups and downs that a young team would have, finishing with a 10-11 record, 2-5 in the league.

The Spartans will return their top six leading scorers for next season, highlighted by junior Jhordany Barcenas, who averaged 12.8 points per game (ppg), and freshman Jordan Campbell, who averaged 9.5 ppg. They also return all-around player Hunter McNunn, who averaged 9.8 ppg, and 6.0 rebounds per game.

The Lady Spartan’s NCS game tips off at 7:30 on Saturday night, at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, 3200 Rio Lindo Ave.

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