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Girls' basketball: Santa Monica pulls off quarterfinal win over Rancho Cucamonga

Thea Lemberger scored 32 points and Moriah Faulk had 12 to lift second-seeded Santa Monica (23-6) to a 54-46 win over eighth-seeded Rancho Cucamonga (18-10) tonight in a Southern Section Division 1A quarterfinal game at Santa Monica High. 

At the end of the third quarter it looked as if Rancho Cucamonga might pull off an upset. 

The Cougars had opened the third with an 8-2 run to take a 27-24 lead with just over five minutes left on the clock, and they rode that momentum to close the quarter with a 36-32 advantage. 

Santa Monica Coach Marty Verdugo put in a bigger lineup to open the fourth quarter.

"That's when it turned around," Verdugo said. "They stopped hitting outside shots."

Faulk converted a jumper inside the key to bring the Vikings within one at 42-41 with 5:40 left in the game, and then Lemberger hit a huge three-pointer to give Santa Monica a 44-42 lead. The Vikings made their free throws down the stretch to clinch the victory. 

Erica Evans led Rancho Cucamonga with 15 points and Kathleen Iwuoha added 13. 

Santa Monica will play Ayala in a semifinal on Saturday. 

-- Melissa Rohlin

 
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