Game of Throws: Rolling Hills Prep Outlasts Keppel in CIF playoffs

Keppel’s Cassandra Shimada picks up a screen to get past Tatum Tamashiro of Rolling Hills Prep, during Tuesday’s CIF State Southern Regional final in Alhambra. RHP won, 54-53, to advance to their third straight State title game, this Saturday in Sacramento. (Photos by MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS / Rafu Shimpo)


ALHAMBRA.–One moment in Tuesday’s Southern Regional final was a fitting microcosm of the entire game, and in many ways, the fortunes of both teams this postseason.

Rolling Hills Prep and Mark Keppel played superb basketball throughout, battling for a trip to the CIF State Div. II championship in Sacramento this Saturday. It all seemed to come down to one play, one heave, that would decide who plays for a trophy, and whose season would come to a disappointing end.

With the score tied at 51 and 5.5 seconds left in regulation, Rolling Hills Prep’s Tatum Tamashiro took the inbound pass and immediately found herself swarmed by Keppel defenders. The ball ended up in the hands of Vanessa Aguirre, who time and again in her four years at Keppel has found a way to get the big shot to fall.

Her quarterback moon shot sailed from half court, well ahead of the buzzer that reverberated throughout the gym, as open-mouthed players and spectators tracked its flight.