MOMENT ARRIVES FOR BISHOP DIEGO: A CIF CHAMPIONSHIP

Bishop Diego girls basketball champs present and past. Seven members of  the 1978 championship team join the 2015 CIF Division 5A champion Cardinals after their victory over Bloomington Christian. Jordyn Lilly's mother, Paula, played on the 1978 squad.

Bishop Diego girls basketball champs present and past. Seven members of the 1978 championship team join the 2015 CIF Division 5A-champion Cardinals after their victory over Bloomington Christian. Jordyn Lilly’s mother, Paula, (back row, second from right) played on the 1977 and 1978 title teams.. Jordyn is third from the left on the bottom row.

SANTA ANA — “This is our moment.”

That was the slogan on the T-shirts worn by Bishop Diego fans at Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 5A girls basketball final at Godinez High.

Well, the moment arrived for the Cardinals.

They are CIF Champions.

In a match-up between the division’s top two seeded teams, No. 2 Bishop Diego roared out to a big lead in the first quarter and never looked back, beating Bloomington Christian, 46-31.

It’s the school’s first CIF title in girls basketball since 1978. Several members from that team were on hand to see the Cardinals win again.

Hannah Rogers dominated the inside against the Ravens, scoring a game-high 19 pounds and grabbing 11 rebounds. Jordyn Lilly scored from all over the court and finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Lilly’s mother was on that 1978 championship team at Bishop.

“As a family, that’s awesome,” Bishop coach Jeff Burich said. “I can’t be any more proud at how hard they played. Mom can still brag she has two; Jordyn has one, at least.”

The Cardinals crashed the glass at both ends of the court and finished with 50 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive end. Sienna Gonzalez had 10 boards and Morgan Wallace had eight.

“When we were able to get those offensive rebounds, I thought, ‘that’s good’ because we’ll be able to slow down their transition game,” said Burich.

Bishop Diego didn’t have any stage fright on the big stage as it stormed out to a 12-0 lead behind the scoring of Lilly and Rogers. The Cardinals’ defense held Bloomington Christian without a field goal until 1:02 left in the first quarter. The Ravens didn’t reach double figures until the 1:45 mark of the second quarter and trailed 23-11.

“I told them to relax, that this is there time to make memories,” Burich said of the team’s calmness going into the final. “They just played as calm and cool as they had all season long. It didn’t surprise me. I was very happy they did that, but it didn’t surprise me at all.”

Bloomington Christian, on the other hand, had a tough time playing under the pressure of a championship. The Ravens, who started three freshmen, missed several open looks.

“The bottom line is we came to the stage and we crashed under the pressure,” said coach Dawnesha Buckner.” Our shots weren’t falling, our defense wasn’t as sharp. I just think … they looked like deers in headlights. We just trailed and we couldn’t get it back.

“Walking in any championship game and thinking that you have the game, I think the egos got a little too big and we paid for it,”

Freshman guard Dyannah Buckner led the Ravens with 12 points and Jordan Veal had nine.

Up 25-13 at the half, Bishop Diego didn’t let up in the third quarter. Lilly hit a long two-pointer and Summer Soto buried a three from the corner for a 28-13 lead. Rogers got the ball in the low post and scored a pair of baskets to raise the lead to 34-17.

Lilly said Burich stressed the importance of playing a solid third quarter.

“Coach just said we have to win the third quarter, because they’re going to come out real strong and we have to come out stronger and push the game to a point where we feel the lead is comfortable and keep playing our best,” said Lilly.

The senior point guard said she is overwhelmed to win the title.

“Honestly, I had tears sitting on the bench with those final seconds counting down, just seeing all the fans out there. I can’t even explain it right now,” Lilly said.

Said Rogers: “It’s an amazing feeling. It was our goal and it’s a great feeling to accomplish a goal that we set for ourselves.”

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