COSTA MESA — The Estancia High girls' basketball team set the tone early Monday night and didn't stop.
With a press defense that was, well, impressive, the Eagles left no doubt about who was the Orange Coast League champion.
Estancia clinched the title outright with a dominant 44-14 victory over Godinez at Estancia High.
It's the second league title in three years for Estancia (18-7, 8-1 in league). Defending champion Godinez, which was missing its top player in senior center Yvette Mendoza (sick), fell to 6-3 in league. The Grizzlies are tied for second with Laguna Beach.
Godinez stood little chance without Mendoza, who averages a team-high 11.6 points per game.
"I saw her with the jacket and the sweat pants before the game, and It bummed me out a little," Estancia co-coach Xavier Castellano said. "That being said, I think we came out to play today."
Junior Celia Duran and freshman Nefertiti Van Den Heever each scored eight points for Estancia, which used a balanced attack. Freshman Maya Van Den Heever had just one basket but contributed 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Duran, senior center Gianna Jason and sophomore Gianna Guyot also all had three steals for the Eagles, ranked No. 9 in CIF Southern Section Division 3-A.
"I think our defense was really good tonight, with our press," Jason said. "I was really glad we were able to do it in the game. I know we've had games where we work on it and we aren't able to implement it into the game, so that was really awesome to carry that over. Really, everyone contributed today. That's the essence of our team ... I think we're all capable of stepping up. It was really a team win tonight, and that's the best way to go out and win league."
The Eagles scored the game's first eight points and led, 15-4, after the first quarter. They also scored the first nine points of the second quarter, before Godinez's Jasmin Canada banked in a three-pointer with 15 seconds left in the half.
Godinez Coach David Mendez saw his team unable to contain Estancia in the paint without Mendoza, who scored a game-high 15 points the first time the teams played.
"We've been playing better as a team," said Mendez, whose squad lost to Estancia, 52-42, in the first league meeting Jan. 15. "Defensively, the girls have been playing really well. But when we start to miss one of our best players it kind of throws everything off, you know? With her, a lot of those inside baskets probably wouldn't happen."
Bryanna Vernon added six points for Estancia. The Eagles were able to use their full roster and had senior Wendy Martinez, junior Rebekkah Lewis and sophomore Eliza Jason crashing the boards late into the fourth quarter. Senior guard Jessica Neri added a layup late in the game as well.
"Everyone gets to be a part of it," Duran said. "That kind of wraps it up for us. They're working hard in practice everyday, and for them to be a part of it is really special to all of us."
Estancia plays host to Calvary Chapel on Wednesday in its regular-season finale.
Orange Coast League
Estancia 44, Godinez 14
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Godinez 4 – 3 – 3 – 4 — 14