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Perfection Cardozo's Golden Eagles Cap Undefeated Hoops Season
With just .09 seconds remaining on the first half game clock, Cardozo Middle School eighth grader Olivia Luu took a quick inbound and spun to her left, drilling a fade-away jumper along the baseline as the buzzer sounded.

The play lifted Cardozo to a six-point lead over Modesto Christian at the half and ignited a boisterous Riverbank crowd at El Portal Middle School on Friday.

The momentum carried into a dominant second half and 42-24 blowout over the Crusaders in the Eighth Grade Championship Tournament in Escalon.

Cardozo finishes the year a perfect 17-0.

"I have really enjoyed how these girls have grown up from the sixth graders I first saw on the court," Cardozo coach Zac Wilkins said. "It's a really tight group and everyone was really excited to see them do well on Friday."

The Crusaders led for most of the first half, but couldn't stop a late second quarter Cardozo rally and allowed several fast-breaks in the final two periods of play.

Luu scored 22 points in the win, adding big rebounds and steals to her repertoire in a game that saw a serious height advantage for Modesto Christian.

Emily Manriquez scored six points for the Golden Eagles while Daisy Nunes chipped in four. Sabrina Garcia and Carla Ruiz scored two apiece while Yolanda Sandoval and Melissa Romero added one each.

Luu is expected to join her freshman sister Janelle Luu at the varsity level when she enrolls at Riverbank High in 2011. Her big scores and sharp teamwork was just too much for local opposing eighth graders to handle.

"I don't know what we would have done without Olivia," Wilkins said. "She has really high standards and it made everyone else better.

"She understands she can't win without her team."

Cardozo's seventh grade team improved upon their eighth seed in the tournament by beating No. 5 seeded Savage in overtime during the season finale. The program finished seventh in the end-of-the-year tournament.