Natasha von Kaeppler made one of two free throws with four seconds to play to lift the Castilleja basketball team to a 45-44 victory over Westmont in the Gold Bracket of the Del Mar Dons Club Holiday Tournament on Monday.
Junior guard Riya Modi scored a career-high 20 points for the Gators (6-3), who were playing for the first time in two weeks.
Trailing by 44-38 with only 1:15 left to play, the Gators put on a 7-0 run to pull out the improbably victory. Modi scored on a layup to cut the deficit to four. On the ensuing Westmont possession, Modi came up with a steal that led to her fastbreak layin. That made it a 44-42 game with just 50 seconds left. Modi scored nine points in the fourth period.
Castilleja elected to foul Westmont, which missed the free throw. The Gators ran an out-of-bounds play and von Kaeppler scored to tie the game. Castilleja forced a wild shot by Westmont that landed out of bounds. The Gators inbounded and von Kaeppler was fouled in the backcourt, setting up the winning free throw. She finished with 12 points.
The senior also pulled down 16 rebounds, becoming the school's all-time leading rebounder with 1,052 boards. Nikki Perlman previously held the record. Abby Thornburg grabbed 15 rebounds, marking the first time two Castilleja players pulled down 15 rebounds in the same game since December 2008.
Castilleja will play in the semifinals on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.
At the West Coast Jamboree:
Eastside Prep took on Division I power Long Beach Poly and suffered a 74-39 loss in the opening round of the Platinum Division bracket at Deer Valley High in Antioch in Monday.
The Panthers (7-3) got 15 points from senior Takara Burse and 10 from senior Ahjalee Harvey, who sprained an ankle recently. Junior Hashima Carothers pulled down nine rebounds as Eastside Prep made its debut in the Platinum Division, the most competitive of the tourney.
Long Beach Poly's volleyball team lost in the CIF Division I state finals only a few weeks ago, to Palo Alto.
In the Jade Division, Palo Alto dropped a 40-37 decision to Florin in another opener at the West Coast Jamboree on Monday at Alhambra High. The Vikings (6-3) will play Fortuna in a second-round consolation-bracket game on Tuesday.
With senior Will McConnell pouring in 22 points, Sacred Heart Prep opened play in the annual San Diego Surf 'N Slam Tournament with a 52-42 victory over host Scripps Ranch on Monday afternoon. The Gators (6-2) also got 14 points from Reed McConnell and finally shot well (11 of 14) from the free-throw line.
At the Chaminade Christmas Classic in West Hills, Menlo School used a strong defensive effort and got 13 points from Richard Harris as the Knights (3-3) downed Kennedy (Granada Hills), 43-27, in the opening round at Chaminade College Prep. Jonny Halprin and Kent Lacob combined for 15 points.