Ontario Christian’s Chloe Briggs continues hunt for section title

She heard the high-pitched screech of the buzzer, and Ontario Christian’s Chloe Briggs flopped onto the hardwood and stared at the gym ceiling as if searching for answers that weren’t there.

Three years in a row.

Her freshman year was in Division 4-AA, where her Knights fell to Menifee Paloma Valley in the Southern Section Championship Game. In her sophomore year, it was Division 3-AA where Ontario Christian lost in another title game to seven-loss Newport Beach Sage Hill. And her junior year, it was Division 2-A, lost another Southern Section title with a heartbreaking four-point loss to Corona Santiago.

And last year was the most painful, Briggs shocked after the clock hit zero, the University of Washington unable to comprehend that she had come so tantalizingly close again. For another disappointment at the end of the season. She stayed at home for a few weeks and tended to her wounds.

Again.

“It’s just the worst feeling in the whole world,” Briggs said.

Briggs is a unique, heliocentric talent unlike few in Southern Section girls’ basketball. As a freshman, she scored 1,216 points, breaking Cheryl Miller’s Southern Section record for most points in a single season while at Riverside Poly. According to coach Matt Tumambing, Briggs started this season about 800 points behind, from becoming the all-time leading scorer in the history of girls’ basketball hoops.

But what she wants, what she craves, is that moment of championship celebration that has eluded her in an otherwise star-studded career with Ontario Christian.

“Just the heartache she’s experienced over the past three years,” Tumambing said, “I don’t know if a high school girl has ever experienced anything like that.”

Almost every day the moments in her head repeat themselves. you torment.

In that sophomore loss to Sage Hill, she struggled in the fourth quarter and missed a few shots.

What if these had fallen?

She recalled scoring 2-of-10 from three-point range in the junior-year loss to Santiago.

What if she only did two more.

And so, after the sadness subsided, she went back to the gym. So far, as a senior, she’s guided Ontario Christian to a 6-2 record, the poster child of a Knights team that loves to swing the ball and blast from long range.

It is supported by Dejah Saldivar, a junior whom Tumambing called “one of the best shooters in the country,” and Anaheim Esperanza, transfer and ball hawk Julia Lavigne.

“We’re a lot more diverse than we’ve been in the past,” Briggs said.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-12-12/chloe-briggs-ontario-christian-girls-basketball-southern-section-title Ontario Christian’s Chloe Briggs continues hunt for section title

Emma Bowman

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