Foothill girls hold off Norco in 2A

ANAHEIM -- Molly Greubel was oozing with confidence during crunch time Thursday night.

The top-seeded Foothill girls’ basketball team was trying to hold off a late run by Norco in the Southern Section Division 2A championship game. Instead of burning off precious seconds in the closing minutes, Greubel sank a pair of pull-up jumpers early in the shot clock that clinched the 54-43 victory at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

“I was feeling confident about my shot,” said the UC Davis-bound guard. “They went into a box-and-one [defense] on me and I realized I really wasn’t getting any open looks, and I knew if we were going to win the fourth quarter I had to put up some numbers.”

Greubel’s biggest baskets of the game came on consecutive possessions late in the fourth.

Norco had cut a 20-point halftime deficit to 11 at the start of the final quarter and then whittled it to seven on a layup by Daleano Arguello with three minutes left. Greubel answered with a pull-up jumper. After the Cougars made one of two free throws on the other end with 2:43 remaining, Greubel sank a pull-up 3-pointer from the top of the key to extend the lead back to double digits.

“If they leave me open I’m pretty confident in my shot at that point,” she said. “I knew I wasn’t going to have that much opportunity if we got set up because they were on me pretty good.”

Greubel finished with 15 points before fouling out with 1:35 remaining. Foothill junior guard Hailey James scored a game-high 19, including 10 in the final quarter.

Norco, which finished sixth in the Big VIII League and was seeded 10th in the tournament before making its playoff run, made just 1 of 11 shots in the opening quarter while falling behind, 20-4.

“I’m not sure if it was Foothill we were afraid of, as much as it could have been the game itself,” said Norco coach Rick Thompson. “The game was just a little big for us in the first quarter.”