Granada Hills girls basketball loses to Caruthers in CIF State finals but embraces big-stage opportunity

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Granada Hills battles to the end but falls short in the Division III final as the first LA City Section girls team to play for a state championship since 2001.

Brigita Bulotaite #3 of Granada Hills shoots over Emmi Almeida #23 of Caruthers in the first half of a CIF State Division III girls basketball championship game the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Friday, March 8, 2024. Granada Hills looks on against Caruthers in the second half of a CIF State Division III girls basketball championship game the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Granada Hills outscored Caruthers in two quarters, but defensive pressure and turnovers allowed the Blue Raiders to come out with a 54-48 win and a CIF State title. Karma Paez #14 of Granada Hills passes against Caruthers in the first half of a CIF State Division III girls basketball championship game the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Brigita Bulotaite #3 of Granada Hills shoots over Emmi Almeida #23 of Caruthers in the first half of a CIF State Division III girls basketball championship game the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Friday, March 8, 2024. Gabriella Arellano #11 of Granada after Caruthers defeated Granada Hills 54-48 to win a CIF State Division III girls basketball championship game the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Head coach Anna Almeida of Caruthers reacts against Granada Hills in the first half of a CIF State Division III girls basketball championship game the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Friday, March 8, 2024. Head coach Rai Colston of Granada Hills reacts against Caruthers in the first half of a CIF State Division III girls basketball championship game the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Caruthers gained a 6-0 lead to start the game, but the Highlanders nearly caught up on a 3-pointer from Gabriela Arellano and an easy lay-in from lengthy center Brigita Bulotaite. The Highlanders made back-to-back 3s to start the third quarter, prompting the Alemany cheerleaders, who were in attendance for the Warriors’ boys game, to start cheering for them.

 

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