Highlights: Pacifica Christian girls basketball withstands Valencia comeback at Cali Live

The Tritons toughed out a fierce Valencia comeback attempt to wrap up a strong showing at Cali Live 2024
Pacifica Christian girls basketball at 2024 Cali Live in Ladera Ranch by Lance Smith
Pacifica Christian girls basketball at 2024 Cali Live in Ladera Ranch by Lance Smith /

LADERA RANCH, Calif. - In a matchup that slowly developed into one of Saturday's best games, Pacifica Christian girls basketball held on late in its Cali Live 2024 finale to defeat Valencia (Valencia) and finish the weekend 3-1.

The Tritons led by as many as 17 points around mid-game, but a tremendous Valencia rally cut the deficit to three points in the final minutes before Pacifica Christian pulled out a 66-59 victory led by Caylie Villagrana, Vivian Villagrana, and Angi Martinez.



  • Army of Pacifica Christian guards will compete with anyone, as usual

Looking ahead to the fall, the Tritons will likely be quite undersized for the third year in a row, and won't let it stop them from competing at a high level. Last winter, Pacifica Christian finished a strong regular season with a top-three finish in the San Joaquin League for the second year in a row, and it'll once again be equipped to compete with a lot of bigger teams thanks to a slew of skilled guards who move the ball and play to their strengths.

Pacifica Christian's win against Valencia got just a bit more edgy and physical than one would expect for a summer game, and that was in part because the Vikings nearly completed a wild second half rally. It would've been easy for the Tritons to get fazed under the circumstances against a tough, physical team with a bit of a size advantage, and that would've cost them the game.

In addition to the Villagrana sisters and Martinez, Pacifica Christian brings back Kassandra Aguiniga and Olivia Ham at guard. Even defensively-sound teams will be hard-pressed to match up with that much pacing and spacing.

  • Valencia misses McLaughlin

Despite a slight size advantage, Valencia wasn't able to capitalize on the glass enough until late in the game. 5-10 slashing wing Cara McKell got going late in the game and couldn't be stopped attacking the rim once she found a rhythm, but it would've been a good matchup for starting center Keira McLaughlin. The 5-11 mobile stretch five sat the game with an injury, and might've been able to help Valencia clean up inside without sacrificing floor-spacing or defensive integrity.

  • Young Vikings are building something serious

With highly-touted freshman shooting guard Kamilla Basyrova coming in to join McKell (a junior) and McLaughlin, Valencia has one of the most intriguing young trios in L.A., with each member possessing complementary strengths and checking in upwards of 5-10. The Vikings don't have a ton of size or playmaking outside of those three, but they do have a handful of other guards who supply shooting, perimeter defense, and physicality.

Don't sleep on the Vikings this season, and particularly don't sleep on them in the 2025-26 campaign.


During evaluation periods, also known as "live viewing periods", NCAA coaches get rare opportunities to scout players in person at certified events. With dead periods and quiet periods taking up most of the summer, live periods provide the majority of the very few chances for those college scouts to watch players from May through August. No contact between NCAA D-1 or D-2 coaches and recruits is allowed during evaluation periods.

Other top CIF-Southern Section teams at Cali Live included Sage Hill, Bishop Montgomery, Moreno Valley, Brentwood School, Windward, Fairmont Prep, St. Anthony, North (Torrance), St. Mary's Academy, Orange Lutheran, Village Christian, Mira Costa, Harvard-Westlake, Redondo Union, Santiago (Corona), Buena Park, Ventura, San Clemente, and many other prominent programs.

The showcase was also well-represented by SoCal's other two sections, the CIF-L.A. City Section and CIF-San Diego Section. Six of last season's eight Open Division City selections were in attendance – Birmingham, Palisades, King/Drew, Hamilton, Granada Hills Charter, and El Camino Real. And the CIF-SDS had a slew of representatives across numerous divisions, including Open Division champion Mission Hills, Bonita Vista, Francis Parker, Victory Christian Academy, and Carlsbad.

Many other big-name programs came from out of the area and even outside the state to play as well, with the CIF-Central Section particularly well-represented by the likes of St. Joseph, Caruthers, Clovis, Central (Fresno), Bakersfield Christian, San Joaquin Memorial, Monache, and Morro Bay. Northern California contenders on-site included Acalanes, Pinewood, McClatchy, Vanden, St. Mary's (Stockton), and Cardinal Newman, and out-of-state strongholds Camas (WA), Jefferson (OR), and Democracy Prep Agassi Campus (NV) also made the trip to Southern Orange County.

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Lance Smith