A senior wing for the Camarillo High girls’ basketball team, Pericone-Kapp illuminated the court with her diverse skills, then got mobbed by the media. She got interviewed by Time Warner Cable’s television crew.
“That was cool,” Pericone- Kapp said. “Being on TV is cool, but I was so scared. I thought, ‘What is this?’”
The Scorpion star scored 17 points, including two huge 3-pointers early in the pivotal third quarter, helping Camarillo fend off Thousand Oaks 48-37 on Wednesday at home in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA playoff bracket.
Camarillo earned a second straight trip to the section quarterfinals. The Scorpions will play at No. 1 seed Mark Keppel at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Scorpions earned their 20th win of the season by ousting the spry Lancers, who finished 20-8 overall.
Both teams struggled scoring— until Pericone-Kapp ripped the lid off the basket.
“We call her ‘Girl on Fire,’” teammate Dynn Leaupepe said of Pericone-Kapp.
“She’s pumped up every day.”
Camarillo’s frenzied press flustered the Lancers, who played without their top two point guards and had trouble bringing the ball safely across half court. Thousand Oaks made its first field goal with 52 seconds left in the first quarter.
Thousand Oaks’ multiple zones frustrated Camarillo, which couldn’t make many shots in halfcourt sets. Camarillo settled for a 17-14 halftime lead.
“This game was a mighty struggle,” said Camarillo head coach Michaeltore Smith. “We did not execute well in the first half. We had more energy in the second half—we took better shots and we were more confident.
“Games like this in the playoffs, you have to find a way to move on.”
Camarillo twin sisters Lynn and Dynn Leaupepe had their own obstacles.
Lynn Leaupepe battled foul trouble all night.
Dynn Leaupepe stepped up with several clutch baskets and a monster defensive game. Her three fourth-quarter blocks ignited the fans, who roared with delight.
Dynn Leaupepe battled pain in her calves, however. She tried alleviating the cramps with a foam roller, to no avail, and gingerly walked off the floor with 2:05 remaining in regulation.
“ Both my calves started cramping up throughout the game,” said Dynn Leaupepe. “It doesn’t happen often. . . .
“We pulled it together and found a way to win. Our start wasn’t so hot. After halftime, we moved the ball and shared the ball better.”
The Scorpions said they enjoyed playing in front of a spirited crowd.
“Everyone I know from all around supported me,” Pericone- Kapp said. “I felt so supported by the community.”
Mary Luna’s 14-foot jumper just inside the left elbow gave Camarillo its biggest lead of the night, 39-25, with 6:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Luna was devastating on defense, jumping passing lanes for steals. She also consistently knocked down midrange jumpers and displayed soft touch on shots near the rim.
“I was afraid to shoot it last year,” Luna said. “I’m looking for my shot more.”
Lancer senior forward Jessie Sager broke her leg two games into the regular season.
She returned Feb. 7, and was active on the glass and attacking the hoop against the Scorpions. She had a scare after a hard fall with 1:24 remaining in the first quarter, but she returned stronger before halftime.
“We tried as hard as we could,” Sager said. “It just didn’t work out.
“It was a pretty rough season. We held it together so well considering all the obstacles. It was a fun season despite everything.”
Alexa Coubal and Coral Suarez played well off the bench for Thousand Oaks.
Viviana Sandoval, Samantha Pericone-Kapp, Sara Long and Sydney Arikawa stepped up for Camarillo in the victory.
Now the Scorpions must prepare for Keppel. Camarillo’s gunning for its first section semifinal appearance since 1989.
“I’m excited,” Luna said, “and ready to go to practice and work hard. We have a lot of motivation to try and beat a No. 1 team.”