RIALTO — Rialto girls basketball star Carrington Davis gave everyone in attendance a lesson about perseverance.
Davis was visibly frustrated after missing her first 11 shots of the game and the lack of whistles whenever she drove through the lane. But Davis never stopped attacking the basket, and the shots eventually started to fall.
Despite the slow start, Davis finished with a game-high 37 points, including the decisive final six points of the night, as the Knights held off Roosevelt 69-63 in a CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoff opener Thursday evening.
“I was upset early because I didn’t know why I wasn’t getting any calls,” said Davis, who only scored a single point during the opening quarter. “I knew I just had to let it go and keep playing my game. Eventually it will all work out.”
Rialto’s quest for a second consecutive section championship continues Saturday evening, when the Knights (26-3) travel to Anaheim to face No. 4-seeded Fairmont Prep (21-8). Rialto won the Division 4AA section title last season.
It was a rough start for both teams, as Rialto and Roosevelt combined to make only 1 of 15 shots from the field over the first 3 1/2 minutes of the game. Mylah Lewis scored eight of her team-high 30 points in the opening period to help Roosevelt take a 17-13 lead. Destiny Rabino sank a pair of 3-pointer to keep Rialto within striking distance.
Rabino and Davis drained back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second period, kickstarting a 13-4 run that helped the Knights take a 35-31 lead at halftime. Davis and Rabino combined for 20 points in the second quarter.
“It took patience,” Rialto coach Robert Goodloe said about what helped turn things around offensively for his team. “A team like Roosevelt is going to try to get you to play at their pace — up and down; go, go, go — and we got caught up in that at the beginning. Once we slowed things down a bit, we started making fewer mistakes and executed better.”
Davis continued to have the hot hand in the third quarter, scoring 12 more points to help Rialto go up by 11 points.
“Teams are always going to go after her,” Goodloe said about Davis. “What I am trying to get her to understand is that I’m not concerned about early misses. There are going to be games like tonight when the calls don’t go your way. So I tell her, ‘Are you going to quit, or are you going to fight?’ She stayed strong and kept on attacking.”
Roosevelt (19-11) did not go away quietly, however. The Mustangs held Rialto scoreless for a four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, and Lewis hit a long 3-pointer from the wing to level the score at 63 with 45 seconds left to play.
“I know Mylah was dead tired at the end, but she just continued to give everything she could,” Roosevelt coach Brian Harris said. “This team showed a lot of resiliency all year. No matter what the deficit is, we aren’t going to give up.”
Davis scored all 12 of Rialto’s points in the final period, and a short floater in the lane gave the Knights a 65-63 lead. Roosevelt had another chance to tie but missed two shots at the line. Davis then sealed the win with four free throws.
“We stayed composed and came together as a team at the end,” said Davis, who also had a game-high 13 rebounds.
Rabino made five 3-poonters and finished with 18 points, and Lyza Ortiz contributed 10 points for the Knights.
Natalie Cruz and Destiny King finished with 10 points and eight points, respectively, for Roosevelt.